The fast conditions ended, and we did some motorsailing, but for the most part the sailing continued to be good. In the clear night sky one could see uncountable stars that most people in the modern electrified polluted world never see. I had a little sense of “home” seeing the North Star once again.
Then we caught a fish. A big fish. A “game fish” — jumping out of the water and “tail walking.” I believe he was a marlin, but please correct me if the photo says otherwise. He pulled most of the line out from our reel, so I had to tighten the drag to keep from running out. I fully expected him to break the line or free himself, but neither happened. Reeling him in was a challenge. But the real trick was what to do next. We thought it best to try to free him. With Tim tottering on the transom steps and me pulling the fish alongside the boat, we managed to get a line around his bill. Tim approached with pliers to try to pull the hook out. The pliers ended up in the deep, and Tim ended up with a puncture wound in the knee courtesy of the marlin’s bill!
The hook was not coming out while the fish was alive, which was not going to be much longer. We changed the plan — to landing the fish and having marlin fillets for a month. We got a line around his tail and hauled him up the transom steps. From bill to tail was at least as long as I am tall. I filleted him right there, and our freezer is well stocked. Plus Josh made the best fish tacos I’ve ever had!
Meanwhile Tim was doctoring his wound. It didn’t appear to be serious, but it was deep enough to penetrate inside tissues of the knee. Concerns were infection and possible damage to the knee structure. Antibiotics were administered, but Tim thought we should consult with a doctor ASAP. He tried calling on the emergency frequency on the SSB radio — something I had never done before. The result was…nothing. No response. So we emailed Jimmy Cornell to ask if he could help arrange a doctor visit immediately upon arrival (on a Saturday holiday).
We arrived the next morning. Nearly 2,000 miles in just under 11 days! We were guided to a berth at a floating dock, where it would be easy for Tim to get off/on the boat. And as soon as we cleared in with the authorities, our BPO agent drove Tim to a medical center. The consultation with the doctor was short and sweet: keep taking the antibiotics and if it gets worse rather than better then get yourself on a flight home and get medical care in the US!
We couldn’t stay at the immigration dock, but our local do-everything man Andy arranged to get the drawbridge opened, despite the holiday, so we could move into The Careenage, right downtown with easy access to everything. And he said we could tie alongside the wall, rather than the usual stern-to, to make it easy for Tim to get off/on. That arrangement is temporary, but the point is that people are going out of their way to help.
So we are in downtown Bridgetown. Buses roaring by. People walking in the park a few feet from the boat. Music blaring on Saturday night. Plus everything costs too much. Welcome to the Caribbean, I guess. I was not happy here at first. But I know by now that I usually feel this way at first at each new place. I need at least a day to adjust. Already (next day) I’m starting to like it. I’ll be here for about 12 days, switching crew, meeting with Jimmy to acknowledge the completion of the Blue Planet Odyssey, and then we’ll be off to explore the Caribbean islands.
One thought on “Arrival in Barbados”
Hello Zeke. Congratulations on reaching Barbados. I have been following you from the start and have enjoyed your voyage thoroughly. Please keep posting. Regarding your recent big fish: We caught a similar fish on a boat that I once crewed on. The captain identified the fish as a “spear fish.” Ask around; perhaps that is what your fish was also. Again: Congratulations! Mike Gemus, author of OCEAN PASSAGES