Aside from a brief afternoon spate successfully targeting a few kelp bass for the larder the day passed uneventful and grand under blue skies over calm seas. An easy pace, free of stress and anxiety, compelled everyone on board to relax, share good conversation, and savor the opportunity. There is nothing like traveling home as triumphant conquerors with ample time to bask, reflect, and revel in events recent past; small details are recalled and recounted; big moments are collectively reassembled into grand visions - every aspect of a series of events so positive now becomes etched in stone.
Last on the fishing front for the day is my admiration for this group of obviously experienced anglers who faced significantly challenging conditions in our sustenance endeavor. Between smoking current, and an anchor position amidst thick kelp, these anglers demonstrated they are no strangers to the pursuit of island bass. They broke out a modern arsenal of perfectly matched tackle and set to clobbering the bass through perfect application of the finesse critical to this set of conditions. The bass were fat, orange, and sassy plenty eager to grab the various plastics, jigs, and wax wings offered; however plastics were by far the best. And, consistent with our identity as cognizant stewards in this region, we kept just enough to supply Chef's Drew Rivera and Jeff Grant for another magnificent creation tomorrow, and sent the rest back to their "Avatar" like compounds among the kelp forest.
Speaking of Chef's Drew and Jeff, and assistant Justin Jackson, this is an ideal moment to cast incredibly deserving recognition their way. In fact, today I am sending two photos of recent Drew Rivera lunch creations that perfectly demonstrate his extraordinary ability. But the ability of all three of our galley team does not stop there. When the action on deck reaches that distinct pitch calling for extra hands, Drew, Jeff, and Justin are quick to set aside their duties and join the fray in whatever position called for. Whether on the bait tank, operating the kites, gaffing fish, or assisting at the rail all three are invaluable assets in every respect; and they are happy to do so. Almost unbelievable among their myriad of positive qualities is a lack of pompous attitude, righteousness, and/or disagreeable edge so commonly found among talented chefs.
With certainty I offer that the galley team of Drew, Jeff, and Justin are the finest I have been to sea with by a colossal margin. They are extraordinarily talented chef's always positive and amenable, and create an atmosphere in the galley that welcomes and includes everyone on board. Three photos today feature the previous two lunches we have enjoyed. Most notable to me is the fresh, RSW yellowtail "stack" over Spanish rice with a mild red chile sauce that Drew produced despite assisting us on deck for the majority of the morning. Imagine hearing the lunch call after three straight hours of pulling like mad men on 40 - 70 pound yellowfin tuna then coming into the galley to find this gourmet offering. Perhaps the photo doesn't do the dish complete justice deserved but I can report that this entrée was as delicious a meal as I ever recall. The perfectly prepared yellowtail was delicate to the point of easily flaking with a fork and literally melted in your mouth it was so tender. The combination of flavors was indescribable to one who admittedly lacks credentials bon vivant.
The second, Asian fusion type dish featured fresh, RSW seared tuna surrounding some savory form of noodles that had the majority of anglers and crewmen calling for seconds, and even thirds. This outstanding original dish was made all the much better by the quality of tuna pulled from one of our tanks. Both of these meals are perfect examples of the level of Drew's creative ability, and the quality of product Royal Star anglers receive from their long range voyages.
I have made the point on numerous previous occasions but can not emphasize strongly enough the relevance of the incredible quality of our product to what is occurring in the world today. The opportunity to fish for sport, and return with robust quantities of premium quality wild seafood does not exist anywhere else. The value this grade of wild seafood represents is incredible and should be utilized and appreciated to it's full potential. If you are making a Royal Star voyage two things I encourage are: arrange a list of friends, family, and co-workers to share your catch with, and utilize as much of your catch as possible in fresh condition. As one of the guys performing the painstaking labor of spiking, bleeding, then dressing out (removing the gills and entrails) every quality tuna that comes on board, even when the fishing is red hot at it's best, I want to see our anglers, and their networks of family and friends, benefit from our efforts. Enjoy the weekend!