Saturday, October 08, 2005

Nukufetau & A Fish Story

Location: Nukufetau, Tuvalu
Position: 08°02.88' S 178°22.79' E
Next Dest: Nanumea, Tuvalu

We arrived in Nukufetau yesterday morning. Nukufetau is the next atoll north of
Funafuti (about 50n.m.). We are very happy we got permission to come here
(Funafuti is the main port, so we had to check out of the country there, and
normally they don't want you stopping anywhere once you've checked out).

It was an enjoyable overnight trip. We left Funafuti around 4p.m. for a slow
relaxing sail. Just after dark, Chris checked our fishing line and sure enough
something was on it!! We thought it was a bird at first, as there was one
nearby squawking away. Then as Chris pulled in the lines, I turned on the flash
light and we had caught not one, but TWO yellow finned tuna!!! After 5 months
of not catching a single fish aboard Billabong I was beginning to think we were
doomed! Hooray that the curse has been broken. We got the first one aboard,
and I (who HATES watching fish die, let alone be a part of the killing) had to
hold it down while Chris went after the second fish. We weren't sure if we
should keep the second one or not (too much to eat) when the fish helped us to
make the decision as he flopped from the transom step into the water. Chris
probably could've held onto him, but we figured we had enough anyway. Not to
mention we were doing all this underway, in the dark, and I'd prefer to loose
the fish overboard then have Chris fall in after him! One of these days Chris
and I will have a good method for bringing aboard and killing a fish, but for
now it seems all we manage to do is create a bloody mess ... you'd think we'd
slaughtered a cow in our cockpit. With the boat rocking & rolling it's not easy
to accomplish much ... so we basically just bagged the entire fish and I managed
to shove the whole guy into our frig. All night the fishy smell lingered in our

I spent my second watch (2am-5am) dreaming of all the fish dishes I was going to
make when we arrived. I was like the shrimp guy in Forrest Gump who recited all
the various shrimp dishes!

I also enjoyed a huge lightening storm. It's fun to watch when they are off in
the distance and not right over you (that's when fun turns to scary and
pain-in-the-ass). We luckily skirted squall after squall as the convergence
zone just missed us.

The next morning Chris got to enjoy a huge pod of dolphins that surfed along at
our bow. He thought about waking me up, but decided it was too early and I
probably needed sleep (gee am I THAT bad in the morning?, hee hee).

We easily navigated the pass entrance, and due to wind strength and direction
opted to anchor in the Southeast corner instead of in front of the village.
After setting our hook, a very friendly police official came over to check our
papers (Funafuti had faxed them the okay for our arrival).

An hour or so later we went with Island Sonata (who made the passage with us) to
meet Teseai (the police official) and his son. They were coconut crab hunting
near an old WWII plane wreck. He showed us the B17 crash and also gave us two
coconut crabs. Back on Billabong we swam (in 87 degree F water) and napped.
Then it was fish cleaning time. This guy was huge ... I couldn't believe how
much meat we got off him. We are very glad we didn't keep both, because even
with Island Sonata's help there is no way we could've eaten both of them before
they spoiled. Another bloody mess in our cockpit - more fish smell on top of
the existing fish smell - but well worth it when we sat down to a huge feast.
We had Island Sonata over for dinner, and as usual I made too much ... Tuna
Rolls, Spicy Tuna Rolls, Cooked Tuna Rolls (MJ isn't a huge fan of raw fish),
Tuna Nigiri Sushi, Seared Sesame Tuna, Oriental Cucumber Salad (made before I
realized how much fish we had, as I was afraid we wouldn't have enough to eat,
ha ha), and of course the coconut crabs! Served with melted butter, wasabi
mayo, wasabi & soy, sweet chili & mayo, and fish sauce & mayo for dipping.
Yummers! I am so excited that MJ bought me sushi plates for Christmas (Chris
still can't believe we are carrying a set of sushi plates & bowls on aboard) ...
but it all looked so pretty served "properly"! We ate until our belly's
protruded, and then topped it all off with brownies! It was sickening how much
food we put away last night!

This morning a local stopped by to say hello, and in the usual friendly local
manner, gave both us and Island Sonata a fish! It's not proper to say no, so we
gratefully accepted!

We can already tell in difference between the small village here in Nukufetau
versus the more largely populated Funafuti. We are excited to go into the
village tomorrow and get a closer look!


  1. Natural Born Killer-let it come out. That's the latent hunter/gatherer energy lurking inside the metro/supermarketers we now are that we have to redevelop to kill them succinctly while asking forgiveness. One good trip to Sushi Marina in Ventura would solve all this, wouldn't it?.
    Bleach cleans up the mess. We're totally jealous and long to be with you>>>Rick and Corbie

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