Wahoo and Watermusic

We are in Lakona Bay (Ptetewut), Gaua (Santa Maria)Island, in the Banks Islands. We had a better than expected sail here yesterday. Right after we cleared the bay at Port Orly in Espritu Santo Island we turned off the motor and sailed all the way to Gaua Island in 10-12 knots from the ENE.

 My experience fishing this season has been mediocre — a few smallish fish. I had not been able to land a big fish capable of feeding us for several meals until yesterday. Just as we were clearing out of Port Orly, passing to the south of Lathi Island, something big struck my lure before we had even set the sails. It was a big, toothy wahoo about 4 1/2 feet long.

 Wahoo are voracious predators that swim at up to 50 knots and have a mouth full of sharp teeth. Fortunately, I had 2 meters of stainless steel wire leader connecting the fishing line (210 pound test) to the lure or it would have bit right through. There is very little waste in this fish — its pretty much all edible white meat. He yielded about 24 steaks of 3/4 to one pound in weight each.

 Today we toured two village in the bay and traded for fruit. While on the boat, people are always paddling up to Sabbatical III asking for something or offering to trade. We gave away a lot of stuff but it got tiring after a while. The women of this bay have a unique form of musical expression called “watermusic”. Eight or ten of them wade out into the river and make music by vigorously slapping the water in different ways to achieve a surprising range of tones. Laura and I are the only visitors in the bay, so we were the only “paying” customers, although all the village children came out to watch.

 Tomorrow we are heading north to Waterfall Bay in Vanua Lava Island, about 35 miles away.


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