Friday, July 11, 2008

Are we starving? Hell no!

And we're finally catching some fish!

Seeing the recent posts about running out of cabbage and cheese, and dwindling canned veggies, some have expressed concern about JUNK's food situation. FEAR NOT! Our sailors have been rationing their remaining perishables, but haven't begun to touch their dried goods - a good 2 months worth, thanks to generous sponsorships from Whole Foods Market and Kashi. The full breakdown follows for those interested - this doesn't include the emergency MRE's Marcus stashed in the pontoons, nor the fish that they are beginning to catch, like last nights Mahi Mahi! Here's the story of Joel's determined mission to land some sashimi...

The morning sun brought another day of calm seas and less than 5 knots of wind. Breakfast consisted of 8 slices of salami followed by a chunk of cheddar cheese. We’re consuming perishables first. For lunch we turned this around and actually ate the cheddar cheese first, followed by salami.

“Hey Joel. How’s the cabbage doin?” I asked.
“Yeah, we’ve got to peel a few leaves today,” he replied.

Throughout the day we occupy our time independently on various personal projects. Joel worked the Frankensail a bit more. I tied a couple 2x4s under a spot where the deck was tearing into one of the pontoons. By the time 5pm rolls around one of us, usually me, asks, “So, what are we eating today?”
Cabbage. Dinner will be cabbage with pesto sauce. We could of course delve into our rations in buckets, but we’re not sure how much longer we’ll be here. We originally considered this to be a six-week voyage. It’s not the sixth week and there are at least six more to go. We’ve agreed that it’s better to be disciplined now rather than hungry later.
Joel whipped up a mean cabbage salad with pesto and a little bleu cheese. I settled into the cockpit with my bowl. Joel was still outside stalking.
Hours ago he spied a fish. It was our first fish sighting in two weeks. Interestingly, we had just called Don McFarland moments earlier. Don and three others rafted to Hawaii in 1958. This was our first call to him while at sea.

“You guys seeing any fish?” Don asked.
“Not a single one,” I replied.
“That’s strange. We had fish almost every day. How about barnacles?” He was referring to the Gooseneck Barnacle that attaches to marine debris. “You can pull those off and suck the juice out of them.” We had done that months ago when we joined Captain Charles Moore studying plastic in the North Pacific Gyre. Charlie made a barnacle rice dish with the broth. It wasn’t half bad.
“No Don, no barnacle eating yet,” I replied. An hour later Joel was dancing across the deck.

“MAHI MAHI,” he yelled. For the next few hours he stalked the fish around the deck, fishing lure in one hand, spear gun in the other. Mahi Mahi are curious fish and will chase anything bouncing across the surface. After hours of trying, Joel took a seat in the cockpit and began slicing cabbage.
I was eating my bowl of cabbage when Joel exclaimed, “You’ve got to see this.” The fish was almost stationary under the starboard bow, with only his head out of view. It was as if the fish was thinking, “If I can’t see them, they can’t see me.” But in this case, half its body was exposed less than two feet below the surface.
I ran back for my camera. Joel cocked the spear gun. “Swoosh!” the spear penetrated the fish, sending it wriggling across the surface.
“We’ve got to get it in,” I yelled, as I yanked the fish onto the bow netting. Joel, cautious of the spear from the gun, lunged onto the fish, grabbing the end of the spear to hold it down. I ran back for my makeshift spear, the one made from a piece of aluminum boat railing, and ended the ordeal.
“I wanna eat it,” Joel said with determination.
“Sashimi or steak?” I asked.
While I cleaned the fish, chef Joel sautéed a bit of garlic, ginger and lemon with two tablespoons of butter. It took half an hour for me to fully clean the fish, stripping skin from meat, meat from bone. I hung 10 pieces for jerky. The pot was overflowing with fresh fish. The skeleton was also hung from the railing of the raft. We’ll pick on that later once it dries.
By 9:00 pm we were enjoying our first taste of fish in weeks. We will eat like kings for a couple of days. What we can’t eat will be dried in the sun. What we couldn’t pull off the bones will be used as bait. Nothing is wasted. This gift from the sea is a blessing.
Thank you Don for wishing us fish.

And now a rough inventory of our supplies:
Perishables: 4 lbs cheddar cheese, 10 lemons and limes, three cabbages, 2 bags of salami and pesto sauce, and bleu cheese.
Dried goods: 23 bags of Kashi cereal, 10 lbs. rice, 4 lbs. nuts, 4 boxes granola, 2 boxes granola bars, 30 protein bars, 8 jars Peanut butter, 5 packs beef jerky (and fish jerky in the making), 4 boxes red beans and rice, 1 bag cookies, 10 boxes mac and cheese, 11 assorted dehydrated entrees, 27 Tasty Bite dinners, 3 lbs dried beans, large bags of dried apples and pineapples, 5 lbs dried soup, 5 jars pwd. Milk.
Other: 3 jars honey, 1 large jar strawberry jam, 10 cans veggies, 1 bucket of M+Ms, large bottle olive oil, and 7 MREs.

And more fish we hope.


Anonymous said...

There's nothing better than fresh mahi-mahi. WE caught one morning while sailing across the south pacific and cooked it for lunch. It was the best mahi-mahi I've ever had. We had it for dinner too and lunch the next day.

Jeanne Gallagher said...

Aloha guys! Am jazzed you and Mahi Mahi ("strong-strong" fish) became one.....good omen. Seems "moana" (the ocean) has accepted you. It knows you possess "ahonui", (patience, expressed through perseverance). Joel, if JUNK encounters "Kohola" along the way, simply rub the abalone piece.....perhaps Kohola's great breath will be blown into your sails to hasten your journey.....

May your kainalu (sea waves) be calm and your makani (wind) be favorable.



Linaelyn said...

Thanks for the food update! I must admit your previous posts concerned me. I was one of those linking to Junkraft Blog with "Can cannibalism be far behind?" as a link-text. :-) Glad to see it was mere hyperbole.

Also, GIANT SQUID. How cool is that?

Best of luck as the sea sends Elida your direction.

Michael Scott said...

Hi guys. I used to be a charter sail captain and once did a couple years doing eco tours with dolphin. I spent a good part of each day picking up plastic beach toys and junk out of the ocean. At least it gave me a chance to explain to the people on board that a dolphin can't tell if it's a jelly fish or sandwich bag. Good on ya for trying this. As a former Captain looking at your craft, remembering my crossings to Japan I just have to say "damn!" you've got some big %&**s. Have a good sail. Mike