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Voyages of the “Exodus”

July finds the “Exodus” plying the calm waters
of the inside passage, in the land of the midnight sun.

After a leisurely and uneventful but delightfully whale filled 3 day cruise up the straits of Georgia and the Queen Charlottes from Vancouver, we pulled into our temporary home base at the Taku Fisheries dock in downtown Juneau, Alaska on July 9. On the voyage north we talked with cruising boats and local fisherman and found that Taku had ample dockage, sufficient power (or so we were told), a great central location, and was about 40% of the cost of the local “white boat” marina less than half a knot away. We tied up along side the floating dock and went through our normal docking routine only to find out that we had access to only one 50-amp line on the dock. We pulled out our “Y box” (which allows us to tap into two, 30-amp lines with a single load line from “Exodus”) and some extra cord, rebalanced the boat's electrical load from the distribution panel on the bridge, and switched to shore power. After finishing up some quick ship's business and a few chores, it was off to the Red Dog Saloon for a few beers and a little sing-a-long before we lay into some king crab at The Hangar. After dinner it's back to the mother ship where we enjoy a peaceful night dockside watching the aurora borealis (that's the Northern Lights for those of you who aren't meteorologists) and planning our next few weeks of exploration.

Back in Vancouver, you may remember, we had the tender (an 18' Novurna RIB with a 90 HP outboard) fit with new electric downriggers and a new fishfinder for one single solitary purpose – BIG SALMON. Susan was dying to get out there and chase some fish around the bays and inlets, so the next morning we set off in lil' Exodus (a.k.a “The Dink”) in search of dinner. Susan had been doing a little reading up, and chatting up of every fisherman for the last 500 knots about Salmon baits, techniques, locations, superstitions and even a little known Inuit fish divining incantation that was our ace in hole - we figured the dink would be loaded with fish by 9:00AM. While trolling for kings that morning near the 5 fingers, we witnessed some of the local Orcas out trolling for kings in their own way. Eight adults and two juvenile Orcas were feeding within 70 yards of the boat without the least regard for our presence. When they finished feeding, they swam within a few yards of the dink and the two largest adults each rolled slightly onto their sides to get a good look at us as they passed. Now that's something you don't get to see everyday! After 6 hours of fishing and whale watching, we headed back to the mother ship a bit dismayed at our day's production. Suffice to say that Salmon fishing is a lot trickier than boating schooling Skip Jacks in Banderas Bay or Mahi Mahi in the Sea of Cortez, but nobody on “Exodus” would go hungry that night.

With time, practice, and a bit of patience, our combined fishing talents improved dramatically. Two nights later we had just finished setting anchor at a little bay at the entrance to Tracy Arm when Brad decided to try his hand at a little halibut jigging off the swim platform. Brad, as you all may remember, is NOT the fisherman of the group, but never one to be outdone in any activity. On his first attempt – alas his very first jig of the jig – WHAM - the big Penn rod doubled over and the fight was on!! 15 minutes later, up from the depths (OK it was only 40 feet, but I'm telling a story here) came a 75-pound halibut. Brad handed the rod to Susan while he gaffed the monster and manhandled it onto the swim platform. Now for those of you who have ever caught the king of the flat fish, you have probably spotted the folly of this rookie move by my dear friend Brad. Although the swim platform on Exodus is just a few inches shy of 5' by 25', it was definitely not big enough for the both of them. FLOP, BAM, CRASH, BOOM – there was pissed-off flat fish flying everywhere sending chairs, tackle and assundried other items flying in every direction. About this time Captain Peter, alerted by the deafening commotion, emerged from the lazarette with the most bizarre looking instrument of death – a 32” Louisville Slugger with a giant gaff hook lashed to the business end with hose clamps. I'll spare you the play-by-play ,or blow-by-blow as it were, but the big fish was eventually subdued and was found to be quite tasty with a little lemon and just a hint of rosemary.

Although we know of no documented cases of a 75-pound fish actually sinking a 90-foot yacht, we are now confident that it is actually quite possible and may in part explain the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. This leads us to our regular words of wisdom from the explorer yacht cruising files of Exodus.

Exodus Experience #47: If the fish on your line weighs more than your 6 year-old niece (and you don't have a giant “fish box”), subdue the beast before you bring it aboard.

And, a slightly different but related bit of wisdom.

Exodus Experience #47B: Never set your new $1,200 video camera down on the swim platform while your battling a big fish.

Coming up in the next installment: Calving glaciers, bears and birds that fish, the economics of float planes
for transporting guests, and what NOT to do if your props accidentally encounter a fisherman's net (Brad!).

Explore More,
Owners and Crew of the M/V Exodus

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Broker John DeCaro
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
Telephone: 954-646-1411

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