Robby Gray (JN)
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It was one of
those perfect days that are the reason why cruisers cruise even while
paying more to live harder. The sea was flat calm and the cloudless sky
met with the slightly rippled water in one continuous circle around
Immanuel. Four days out from the Maldives and five more days to
go before we hoped to arrive in Oman, it was only us, God, the Indian
Ocean, fish, and… dolphins.
of dolphins surrounded our boat taking turns playing in our bow wake.
Now on the bow, making eye contact with the little smiling creatures
playing in our bow wake, I was wondering how this day could possible get
better. I knew and had personal experience that tuna will many
times associate with spinner dolphins, the kind that were right then on
the bow jumping all around us, so I turned my attention to my lines
hoping that this day would get even better. Looking to the stern I saw
that my lines were splashing and gurgling nicely. I had the lures close
to the boat, even though the sun was high and the water was crystal
clear, as the fish in the Indian Ocean, at least around March, seemed to
be very aggressive.
just turning my attention back to the dolphins when my Penn
International II, rigged with the largest lure put closest to the boat, started
singing its sweet metallic song. Forgetting about the dolphins
completely, I just about ran to the stern with visions of gigantic blue
marlin. I took the rod out of its PVC holder, put the drag lever up to
the strike position,
and jabbed the rod tip back a few times. Even though I had the drag to
the strike position the line was still being removed from its spool at
an alarming rate. While I was doing all this, my dad had ran back and
put the engine into neutral. As the boat started to slow down I began to
regain a little control. Judging from the bend in the rod and the fact I
was about to go over the stern pulpit I knew this was no ordinary catch.
As the fish had dove deep and seemed to want to stay there and with the
dolphins on the bow, I suspected my fish was a tuna. Now that the boat
had come to a complete stop, the dolphins started circling our boat,
coming right up to the hull and sometimes diving under our keel.
Instantly the rest of my family abandoned me and started frantically
digging out there snorkeling gear. The gear was stowed deep, as
everything on a boat seems to be, so it took a while for the rest of the
family to dig out their dive gear.
fish came nearer to the surface, I could see dolphins circling around
it. Soon I could see clearly the body of a five foot yellowfin tuna,
neon yellow fins streaming behind like banners on the top of a proud
castle. By the time my mom had found her gear and hopped in the water,
my dad was still trying to get his, the fish was up next to the boat. So
there I was with a five foot yellowfin tuna at the end of my 50 pound
monofilament with no one to help me tailnoose it. I just stood there
while everyone else got their gear on. I guess I was the only one with
my priorities strait but it was still a difficult decision; swim with
dolphins in thousands of feet of water in the middle of the Indian Ocean
or land a five foot yellowfin tuna.
The decision was made when my line finally broke and the tuna took off
with one of my favorite lures so I joined my mom and dad in the water
with the dolphins.
entering the water I was defend by the dolphin’s echolocation. I could
see the dolphins but only at a distance. I swam up forward, held on to
Immanuel’s bow, and waited. The dolphins came closer and closer
until they were only about 30 feet away but with the clarity of the
water they seemed only 10 feet away. The dolphins blasted around us in
little pods of about seven, coming in closer to look us strait in the
eye then darting farther off. I have no idea how long we were in the
water as time seemed to stop. We were all alone. It was just us and
dolphins in an infinite blue.
dolphins moved just out of our sight, we could only here their squeaks,
so we climbed back on to Immanuel. It was when we had gotten
underway again, the bitter end of my fishing line dangling from the tip
of my rod and the dolphins back on our bow, that we realized that we had
left the sails up during our whole swim with the dolphins. We were all
wondering what would have happened if the wind had picked up!