Sorry for the lack of pics but as usual I left my camera at home - doh!
Work matters had been weighing heavily on my mind of late so it was good to launch the Yak into the great blue Excedrin to clear the cobwebs cluttering my brain and hopefully evict a few spiders lurking there.
I had been well occupied in previous weeks. The shipments had arrived in the mail and I had been busy moding my new prize possession, doing upgrades to her structure and fine tuning her rudder system. That reminds me! I have yet to christen her with a name – hmmm, what girlfriend from days of yore will be so honoured as to grace my new toy?
A friend rocked up to Gantheaume Anchorage with his wild hound of the Baskervilles in tow just as I was assembling the bits and pieces that would secure the outriggers to the main hull. Some bemused semi-naked sunbakers sat perplexed curiously observing my construction drill as I locked the mast into it’s receiver well. I handed Troy one of the scotty rod holders which he inserted into the rail mounts I had fixed onto the lockbraces. As it turned out these actually proved somewhat redundant given the new bullhorns I had just mounted that day. Still one has to experiment
Satisfied with my final inspection, I launched off the white sands of Cable beach into the evening sun bound for Gantheaume Point on the offshore breeze. While the Hobie “Adventure Island” is a great Caddyak as one local put it, it is less an ideal fishing platform so I ran through the hookup drill in my mind.
One: Reef the mainsail.
Two: Raise the twist and stow rudder aboard.
Three: Clear the second trolling line.
Four: Release the lockbrace and secure the starboard Ama alongside.
Five: Fight that big bad fish stealing line from your weapon of choice.
Just about then I hooked up, Yes! But wait, no? It was only a shallow bombie that had snagged a trolled lure taking it’s claim from my tackle box. Tying a new lure to the end of my line, I made a mental note: wait to clear shallow waters before putting out deep divers in future. Rigged for action once again, peddling my “penguin flipper” mirage drive I steered the craft through a barricade of bombies blocking access to open waters and clear sailing.
It wasn’t long before the offshore breeze saw me rounding Gantheaume point and heading for Queenfish Rock a short mile distant. A few small dinghies dotted the reef system on the edge of the Roebuck Deeps in their usual haunts. I singled out one which seemed to be anchored in the right spot and using it as a marker I proceeded to make a tack trolling my entourage over the submerged peak. Some passes later it became evident that it was just not feeding time on the rock so I decided to head north in the hope of finding some greener pastures.
It wasn’t long before my new course was rewarded. A blistering solid hookup evaporated the spool contents of my Penn 525 Mag – now that’s more like it. Managing to slow the train to a stalemate, I finally started to contest some line when a jealous rival chomped through the leader knot connecting me to my quarry. Hmmm.....two nil for the opposition – now this wasn’t in the plan! Somewhat chagrined by my losses, I nevertheless soldiered onward.
Now sailing seaward on a gentle wind is an easy ride but as I was about to learn, it was an entirely different prospect when a flagging offshore breeze conspires to leave you floundering in the doldrums miles from land! Only one recourse left, time to resort to – peddle power! Now this Turbo Mirage drive really kicks ass, no way I could ever move out the AI with outriggers in tow anywhere near this fast with mere paddle power! More to the point, one of the reasons I got this craft was so no matter what part of my ailing anatomy decided to give up the ghost for that month, I still had options – paddle, peddle or sail – short of a complete multiple joint meltdown, I would still be able to get my jollies out on the big blue
I made a beeline for a solitary dinghy anchored a couple of miles north in the hope that a reviving easterly wind would afford me the opportunity to make a tack back to the shoreline. However such was not to be and the hamstring in my right haunch was starting to protest this unfamiliar peddling posture. Come on wind - where are you? Struggling onwards, I eventually closed in on my target to see fields of rolling sardines glistening in the evening sun as they were herded over the shallow reef tops. Sights of slashing pelagics carving up the hapless schools aroused a total resurgence of stamina in my veins and my aches and pains were relegated to but a distant memory. Action time!
I switched lures to smaller shallow runners so as to match the hatch and avoid the snags. Bingo! In quick time I was attached to a small missile and a screaming drag was playing music in my ears. Now what was that hook-up drill again? Struggling against panic to retain my composure, I somehow managed to go through the motions. Yep, only one thing can empty a spool that fast. It’s gotta be a Mackie. My little tricked out ABU gave a virtuoso performance and soon I had a 7 kilo broadbar alongside and a well placed gaff shot saw him wrestled into the rear well.
Eager to usher some more guests aboard, I hastily calmed his nerves so I could return to the action. Now – reverse drill! Amas, rudder, sail, lines out! Within seconds, life was again full of happy problems as bending rods revealed two new guests making enquiries. Fortunately one decided to pass, affording the other my undivided attention. For such a modest fish these guys really turn on a show and just love to set records for the 100 meter sprint but soon enough a second Mackie was submitting to the will of my rod. Now where was that gaff? Uh-oh! Had I carelessly left it lying in the rear well? Seems that the tossing and turning of my first guest had flicked it clear overboard. Damned - the opposition was inflicting heavy casualties! I made a desperate lunge for the tail as my new guest did a circle sweep and wrestled him aboard, all the while exorcising diligent care to avoid a kiss from those razor teeth. Some more anaesthetic and mackie number two was securely stowed aboard.
Now I would have loved to stay and spent some more time exploring this field of dreams but a setting sun and WA fisheries regulations conspired to overrule me. So, content with my catch I reluctantly headed back to the beach. However I was quite unprepared for the barrage of attention which followed.
A lazy Sunday afternoon preceding a long weekend saw many Broome locals gathered at the anchorage to kick back on the beach with some coldies and enjoy one of our fabled sunsets. No sooner had I dragged the Hobie onto terra firma than I was surrounded by familiar faces eager to investigate this strange new craft. Buddies from my dive club, friends from work and old Broome icons alike gathered round the “Adventure Island” to check her out. Never occurred to me that it would be such a crowd puller - I could be famous
One particular girl from work who has piscine blood flowing through her veins stood transfixed by the combination of fish and craft for the better part of an hour! Her recent attempts at a failed boat purchase had apparently been replaced by a whole new purpose in life. Taking mercy on her, I donated a Mackie to appease her appetites.
Perhaps I will sell her my new AI and upgrade to a 2011 model? Hmmm – wonder if she would bite?