Wednesday, December 07, 2005

How to Cook a Five Foot Marlin...

I don’t know how it was that I found myself totally consumed by a horrible case of seasickness, sitting on deck, at the back of the yacht in 10 ft. seas, as the yacht listed from side to side at an almost 40 degree angle, butchering, skinning and filleting a five foot marlin that Dillon had caught (is it even edible?). But somehow, on the third day of our trip, mid-afternoon, that’s exactly what I was doing…

Was this really the job I had signed on for?

I had volunteered to do it, of course, tortured by the thought of the mutilation that would surely occur if the crew had been left to their own devices with this poor, hapless fish. I staggered out on deck, plunked myself down on the ground with a sharp knife and large cutting board and went to work on this beautiful creature. Even through the fog of seasickness, I felt a tinge of sadness as I watched the marlins colors change from sapphire blue and yellow to a dull, flat grey as its life drained from its body.

One foot wedged against the toe bar on deck, my back against a settee, holding myself in position as the boat rocked; I struggled to grasp the marlins wet, slimy body. Waves toppled over me, my brain loose in my skull rolled with the motion of the ocean; my ears ached from the wind and tiny volcanic eruptions bellowed from my stomach. I sunk my boning knife into its back and followed the spine, slicing through the flesh with even strokes, working quickly and doing as best I could given the circumstances. I removed the two long filets, white and mealy. I knew marlin wasn’t a good eating fish, but the boys had already mutilated it with a spear bringing it in, at least I could show a tiny bit of respect for the creature by butchering it properly.


After the water had been thoroughly chummed by the bones, skin, head, tail and innards of this fish (and by the contents of my stomach) I decided that we probably had a good following of sharks and if I were to jump in I would be assured a quick and timely death and my dreaded seasickness would soon be over. But apparently, I had a higher calling as I couldn’t muster the energy to jump overboard. I limped back inside; damp, seasick and smelling of fish. After a battle of wills against myself - fighting my desire to just crawl into bed in my scaly, bloody, fish covered clothes, I managed a hot shower and summarily passed out cold.

Thankfully, my seasickness did not fully grip me until our third day of our trip when my body decided to completely rebel against the motion of the boat. I spent a solid 24 hours lying on the couch in the pilot house. But the captain needed his food too and I didn’t want to let him down. So, I bribed one of the crew with my secret stash of Scharffenberger Dark Chocolate to bring the captain lunch. Dinner, much to the surprise of the captain, I decided to do on my own. In an act of mercy, he said that he would be fine taking it cold – so cold lasagna it was… As thankful for that as I was, it didn’t make the trip to the galley any easier. I had to close the covers on the port holes in the kitchen, as watching the sea race buy only added to the ill feeling…

At 6am the next morning I woke from a wretched half-sleep with a stiff neck, sore back and a volcanic irruption taking place in the pit of my stomach, to witness first hand a magnificent Caribbean sunrise – Anguilla in the distance behind us, St. Maarteen to our starboard side and that distinct mountainous outline of St. Barth’s ahead. Absolutely glorious, and almost enough to make me forget how awful I felt. Almost…

We sailed into Corossol at 8am on Tuesday, December 6th. I made everyone a big breakfast of bacon, fried eggs and toast and within an hour we were all bustling around scrubbing and cleaning every inch of the boat, inside and out, from stern to bow…

Next stop, the port of Gustavia…

(p.s. I have lots of pictures and will get them up in the next few days - I have to download some from my crewmates camera as well... All in good time..)

2 comments:

sha said...

chef is all around..
we did our fishing in the indian ocean just when we pulled the tuna it was half eaten by a shark

speaking of shark when we were anchored in seychelles in some remote islands my evening entertainment was feeding the sharks...
DONT BRIBE THE CREW ever.. its part of what we call team work.. they must help....unless the stews are not pitching in lol

Anonymous said...

Wow! You are having some adventure! I have got to say your writing is fantastic. I think you are going to have the great beginnings of a book by the time you get back to NY!

We miss you! What's on the menu for christmas dinner? I need some ideas, I'm cooking for my parents.
-Gregory

 
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