Well the bill for all the good weather came due in a big way perfectly coinciding with our departure. Once in a great while we experience some real weather out here that requires all hands, and experienced seamanship to safely navigate. As uncommon as they are, these situations are extremely adept at exposing any and all weaknesses in a vessel's ability and a crew's performance. Simply said, we all find out what we're made of when the shit hits the fan.
Although we knew there was a good blow coming, I have to admit that we didn't expect quite the intensity encountered as the evening progressed. With plenty of experience to draw on however, we performed some quick ballasting, buttoned her up tight, eased back on the throttles, and settled in to a pattern of watching ahead like a hawk and throttling down to idle when the really big combers reared up on our bow. It made for a bumpy ride that nevertheless reaffirmed my confidence in Royal Star's sea worthiness after eighteen years out here working on her. Without fail this boat handles such conditions as every angler investing in a offshore fishing voyage should expect. In addition to the creature comforts and functional systems she boasts, she is one tough, rugged vessel that advances through poor conditions without a hitch; not that we are looking for extremity to prove our mettle. We much prefer flat calm. In fact, if I could arrange it so we would never had to face crappy weather, I would sign a contract right now. Such is not the reality of it however. And as such, we are well heeled when the challenge is upon us.
Along with the boat's flawless operation the good news is that the worst of it only lasted about six hours then we were back up to about three quarters speed for the remainder of the morning. Even better news, and in line with my telling the guys that strong northerly blows rarely last more than twenty four hours in that region, by four p.m. it was over. Like magic, the wind simply stopped, and the remainder of the afternoon and evening was enjoyed as anglers emerged from below returning to the deck to find sunshine and calm seas. Even after twenty five years of working at sea such profound changes in conditions out here never cease to amaze me. It is almost impossible to believe that the ocean at three a.m., complete with towering fifteen to eighteen foot seas and thirty to thirty five knots of wind, could transform into a tranquil setting of one to two foot seas and calm conditions a little more than twelve hours later. It really is amazing.
So, with all the drama detailed, the fishing front is the real news of the day as the guys still down below had another fantastic day on big ones despite the weather's best attempts to throw a wrench into the works. The sign of fish around that zone is phenomenal. With the weather flattening out, get ready for some big reports to come in over the next few days as a couple more of the guys are arriving and have plenty of time to work and keep track of the fish. Along those lines we have the Braid fifteen day departing on Friday, January 22nd that promises to be an ultra limited load targeting giant yellowfin in the lower bank region. As of now we have plenty of space on the trip for any anglers interested. Captain Randy Toussaint will be running the show that has as good of potential as I have ever seen for giant yellowfin tuna. There has been no perceptible change in conditions and, if anything, there appears to be even more fish showing up all the time. If you are considering a voyage, you will not encounter a better time or opportunity. My advice is to go if you are able.There will be much more giant yellowfin tuna action down there in the next few weeks. I am certain of it. And Randy is going to prove me right. I hope one, if not more of you can finagle it so you can be there with him.
Photos of the day feature anglers Wayne Nichols with his first cow weighing in at 214.5 and long time long range veteran Chuck Greenstone pulling on what was to be his 237 for the trip. Congratulations to both anglers on your great catches. Look for our final voyage report tomorrow.