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Saturday, December 16, 2006
Tuna on Deck!

It is impossible for a troller not to have a line in the water just to see what's there. The water was warming up nicely as we ran south and Mark pulled in our first fish. In fishermen's lingo, the "skunk was off the deck." He hauled up a nice yellowfin tuna. I licked my chops. Sushi and then a barbecue. You just can't beat that!

Steve and Drake were having fun with our autopilot and GPS interface. We had a gizmo they nicknamed "Gilligan" which could be programed to change the boat's course automatically at pre-designated times. Also it plotted and steered a great circle route which eventually would be a fuel saver on the Pacific. But I am getting ahead of myself.

First we navigated through Yucatan Channel, then past Cozumel and Isla Mujeres. By morning's light be hailed Swan Island, a possession of Honduras. Steve had wonderful memories on a previous stop ten years before but we were in for a surprise this time. No sooner did the anchor grab the coral sand, than shots rang out from shore. Rifle shots whistled over our heads and we hit the deck, shielded by the steel bullworks. Mark spied out a port hole as did I. Over the palm trees lurked a wooden tower with armed guards. On the beach a few menacing men waved their guns. Whenever we showed a face or hand, a shot pinged off the hull. We convinced Steve to pull anchor although he was not entirely convinced that the natives were now unfriendly.

Onward to the Corn Islands or Islas de Maiz. My watch began at 3 AM. The guys assured me that with their studious programing of "Gilligan" that the Papa George would turn itself on the proper course as we ran directly abeam of Little Corn Island. All was well as dawn broke quickly and the islands were in sight. I awaited the automatic change of course and sipped my coffee. All of a sudden the boat turned 10 degrees to port and aimed directly at Little Corn Island. Holy Smokes! With only minutes to respond correctly, and with the boat dashing towards shore, I turned off everything and turned the wheel to starboard.. I looked at the paper chart, got on
course, and steered by hand until Drake & Donee got up to take their watch. Gilligan was not to be trusted......

Mark had beautifully loined out the yellowfin and we still had some steaks left for the barbie. Oh boy.

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