We traveled to Australia for the first three weeks of June. The first leg of the journey was spent sailing around the Whitsunday Islands in a 32 foot sailboat. This was arranged in large part by our friends from Washington D.C., who actually know how to sail! I was a little apprehensive because we had never spent so long on the water in such a small vessel, but despite some less than perfect weather, we found our sea-legs quickly and thoroughly enjoyed our time.
A few of the areas we visited were marine sanctuaries but where it was permitted we often spent a bit of the afternoon and evening bottom-fishing, often right from the back of our boat. I was confident enough of success that we planned several meals that depended on catching something edible. We all caught fish but Tara was the most successful provider. In the end we ate a small trevally, which I prepared as ceviche (so-so) and some redthroat emperors, filleted and cooked in the pan or on the grill (quite delicious).
I also brought along a larger rod, hoping to find some bigger game. I fished some very promising shore-lines for giant trevally but only caught small fish, mostly blackspotted rock cod, a very handsome and apparently plentiful fish. I also hoped to find some open water action, mackerel or possibly skipjack tuna, but that did not materialize. In fact, I only spotted one bird pile the entire trip. We also ran a trolling lure most of the time that we were underway but had no success with that either.
On our final day we took the small tender boat out for a snorkeling trip. Along the way, with some helpful boat handling from our captain, I fished a couple of “bommies” (Australian for big submerged rocks) and found one hungry papio.