Overnight, the weather continued to settle and now we are down to a southeasterly swell and winds of around 15 knots. As we move north, the weather is getting more tropical and last evening, we crossed the international dateline. We are attempting thru the good graces of Russel Radio in New Zealand (we check in with them over HF SSB radio each evening around 6 PM) to find out if customs and immigration are open over the weekend in Tonga as it will effect where we make landfall. We have tried to email and raise Tonga Customs and Immigration on the Sat phone, but the email address is wrong and no one answers the phone. Big surprise.
We would prefer to head north to Vava’U but can’t make that before Saturday AM. If we can’t clear over the weekend, we will stop at Nuku’Alofa on Friday and clear there before moving on.
Deb captured this beautiful sunrise this morning. Closest land is roughly 400 nautical miles from our current position. So far, we have only seen two other ships and one of those was close to New Zealand.
We also caught our first fish overnight. This poor flying fish made a fatal mistake and crashed in to a window on the boat and was found lying on the deck this morning. You can actually see a complete imprint on the window where he met his end.
Despite his apparent small size, he filleted out very nicely;).
More seriously, we did have the 50 pound class rig out this morning and had a monster strike that threatened to spool us before escaping. We were really bummed out.
About an hour later, however, we did get another strike and this time it came aboard amidst a bit of pandemonium with me leadering the fish, Steve gaffing him, and both of us beating him to death with a fish billy on the back deck. Over 4 feet and 40 pounds of angry wahoo is nothing to take lightly.
The fillets in the prior picture were the result and some nice filets went directly from the fillet board to the fry pan for an early lunch.