Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fish On...But What Is It?

We left Urquhart Bay this morning and would let the wind decide what direction we would head once out of the Whangarei River area. The wind pointed us towards Whangaruru Bay, about 35 miles away. It was a motor sail with not much wind and then around 1100 we were able to shut off the engine and have a close reach sail the rest of the way. Just as we were nearing Whangaruru, a New Zealand Customs boat came nearby and asked us lots of questions, but didn't board us. They are incredibly polite and friendly officials here and we had everything in order so there were no issues on our end either. We chatted awhile and they asked if we had any luck fishing (as we were dragging a line). We said no but probably because we were going too slow and dragging a lure that the fish didn't like.

Soon after the customs boat left, zing! The fishing line started to whirl off the reel and Michael (who was doing the fishing today) pulled in and landed a pretty nice sized fish. But we had no idea what it was. It was a dark grey on top and lighter towards the lower part of its body. He had a very forked caudal fin and a long, low dorsal with two distinct sections. His mouth was large but he didn't have sharp teeth, rather several rows of small rough "teeth" in lines. Michael cleaned it, filleted it and cooked it for dinner and it was quite tasty – only we still didn't have any idea what it was.

After some research with all our New Zealand books, brochures and even a glance at the internet – we have determined that he caught a "Kahawai." Luckily there was no size restriction on them and you can take them. The best way to prep them though is to bleed them first (which we didn't do). But it was still tasty and had a nice texture and color. Fresh limes would have been nice!

We enjoyed our fish dinner at anchor in Puriri Bay in Whangaruru Harbour. There is a Department of Conservation campground on shore – and there are supposed to be some nice treks around the area. We'll do some exploring tomorrow.

While at Urquharts, we did manage to get some more varnishing completed – five coats on the entryway, handrails and pole and several coats on the wall under the stairs. We are slowly getting the interior down – but will take a few days to enjoy this new area before we tackle another part of the boat. There is a "storm" off the Tasman that should bring some unpleasant weather this way perhaps by the end of the weekend, so we'll find a nice place that's protected and settle in. But for now, we'll enjoy Whangaruru.

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