Gone Fishin’ in Mada

Having Tony on board for our passage from the Seychelles to Madagascar was terrific for a myriad of reasons, not least of which was his fishing expertise – just part of the skill set he brought with him.  Admittedly, he didn’t put these talents into practice until we were in the shelter of the NW coast of Madagascar, but then came the action!

First on the line was a reasonable skipjack tuna – big enough for a couple of meals, the first served as sashimi with soy sauce, wasabi and bread.  Delicious.  Not content with just one catch, the line was cast again and shortly afterwards we landed a decent sized trevally, proudly held up here for the camera.

Not bad for a day’s effort but the best was still to come on day two.

With one line out again and sailing in calm seas at about 6 kn, mid-morning the cry came ‘FISH’!  All hands on deck, with Bob on the bathing platform, gaffing the catch.  This time what we think was a mackerel, perhaps Spanish, but more likely Indian was subdued with alcohol (not the best Gordon’s of course) hung in the cockpit with its head in a bucket, and filleted ready for cooling in the fridge.   No sooner had everything been cleared up, the line went out once more, thinking the chances of luring another unsuspecting fish fairly slim.  Not a bit of it.  Within 30 minutes the reel was spinning with that same magic turquoise, blue and green lure on the end of the trace.

Weighing in at 8 kg, this one took some time to get on board from the side deck.  A second mackerel type fish!  Tony’s method of tackling the filleting task is novel (for us at least) and clean, with very little blood-letting, and all prepared in the cockpit.  His way, the fish isn’t gutted.  Hanging by its tail, the flesh is cut away in sections from that end towards the head, then rinsed, the skin removed and the skeleton, head and tail thrown overboard.

To cap it all, as we were entering Nosy Mitsoi to anchor late that same afternoon, a local dug out came to meet us, the two fishermen holding up their catch.  Crayfish no less.  Too much to resist, we bought one very cheaply, put it in the pan and ate much of it for supper.  Again a delicious treat.  We hadn’t eaten fresh crayfish for some time.

Bearing in mind a complete dearth of freshly caught fish on board Pipistrelle for over a year, all in all we were delighted and it provided us with a couple of great opportunities to entertain friends on board once we reached Nosy Be, with both a marinated raw fish dish and fried – but no chips!

Postscript: Much excitement was caused by a female humpback whale and calf that surfaced and blew 20ft from us while heading north as we were sailing south.   A magnificent fluke, but it caught us by surprise so no photos.

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