Sunday, June 4, 2017

Catch, release...and the extra mile with a striped Marlin.

Yesterday we crossed over from the Baja side to San Carlos on mainland Mexico as we prepare to end another amazing season cruising the beautiful waters of Mexico.  It was a gorgeous crossing and as our friend Jake on our sister-ship puts it "very civilized".  It wasn't much for sailing but cruising across 80 miles of clear blue, glassy, 80 degree water... it was worth spending a few pesos on diesel. We lost count of how many turtles we saw, somewhere between 20 and 30.

As usual, whenever we travel, we were trolling lines looking for a delicious dinner. Not much action unitl about 30 miles out of San Carlos things got exciting.  The ocean was so calm that I had decided to hop in and swim with the next sea turtle fast approaching off the port bow.  Just as I got my mask and fins out we got a hit on one of the lines.  Looking back we were treated with an amazing aerial display of a large striped marlin.

 Trying to get comfortable...

The battle went on for an hour or more as Bret struggled to gain ground and Marne balanced her time between the camera and the helm to keep the boat positioned correctly so the fish didn't make it's way under the boat and cut the line on the prop or something else on our undersides.  Honestly, NO WAY we would have caught that fish without her careful manuevering.

After an hour or so both the fish and Bret were exhausted but the fish was finally at the side of the boat where we could carefully remove the hook and let him go.  Bret put on some gloves, grabbed the marlin by the bill and lifted as much of the fish out of the water as possible so that Marne could remove the hook.  It was a struggle to get him high enough out of the water but the hook came out easily and we attempted to send him on his way.  However, when we let him go he turned belly up and swam slowly in a circle, upside down, then stopped, just laying there looking like he had given up entirely.

It was a major struggle getting him high enough so Marne could unhook him.

We realized he was in trouble when we saw he couldn't stay upright.

Bret quickly put on his mask and fins and jumped in to see if he could revive him.  Grabbing a pectoral fin, he turned the fish over and started to swim him forward forcing water through his gills.  A few minutes in and we could see that he was beginning to breathe on his own.  However, when Bret let him go he turned upside down again.  So more swimming.  After about 10 or 15 minutes of keeping the fish upright and moving water through him he was breathing pretty strong and when Bret turned him loose he swam off on his own into the deep blue.

 Getting to the fish and turning him over.

Helping him along.

On it's own, this pic looks ominous but it is just a very, very tired marlin.

 Trying to swim the marlin forward to push water through his gills.

 Just after releasing him as he swam down into the deep.

 Going back up for air before the final shot of him swimming away.

Adios amigo.

It was an amazing experience and we are both glad that we were able to help the fish back to good health so he could be on his way.

Until next time,

SV Liahona
Bret and Marne