On Tuesday, June 28, we surveyed sites along the southern coast of Arno. Apparently it’s a good place to spot marine life. Even though dolphins have been chasing our boat every day, Tuesday was truly exceptional. A pilot whale started following us, and I was able to snag some video (thanks to Diane for posting it!):
To add to the commotion, the fishing reel attached to the stern of the boat started clicking, a sure sign that something was pulling on the line. Something big. For a terrifying moment, I was sure that we’d snagged the whale. It was so big that Ronnie (our captain) and Cary needed an extra hand. So I dropped the camera and ran to the fishing pole.
That’s how I ended up helping to reel in a 140-pound yellowfin tuna.
Unfortunately, in all the chaos, the only pictures we got were quick and blurry, and don’t really show the size of this beast. Cary said it was the biggest one he’d ever seen in these waters. If we’d caught it a few days later, it would have been a record-breaking contestant in the national Fisherman’s Day competition.
Cary pulled out his baseball bat, clubbed the tuna over the head a few times, bled it out with a knife, and wrapped it in an insulated body bag. The bag took up a sizable portion of the deck, and I couldn’t help but stare, wondering how the ocean could spawn such a massive beast.
By this point, the deck was getting pretty bloody, along with some of our dive gear. I wasn’t too keen on diving in a shark sanctuary smelling like chum, but we were able to hose the gear off relatively well, and the sharks didn’t show any special interest in us that dive.
They sold the tuna to the Tide Table restaurant in Majuro, and since I ate tuna every chance I could get, I probably had my fair share of that fish. You can say what you like about Micronesian food, but the fish is unbeatable, especially when you catch it yourself!