Preparing to operate…

28 Jan, 06 – 20:35

I had just gone out on deck for the afternoon shift when something dropped, apparently out of the sky, and landed at my feet.

‘Eek’, was my first thought (or words to that effect).

Then I saw it was a small but decent-sized flying fish.

‘Supper’, was my second thought.

I briefly toyed with the idea of throwing him back, but he’d injured himself on the inbound flight and was bleeding into the footwell. I reasoned he was a goner anyway – if I threw him back he’d soon get eaten, and if anybody was going to eat him it may as well be me.

I couldn’t bear to watch his death throes, so I went to do my rowing shift and sang loudly to myself to cover the sound of the frantically flapping fish in the footwell. Eventually the sounds subsided and I braced myself for the next stage of the operation.

I’ve never gutted a fish before, and my knife was pathetically inadequate, but I seemed to make a reasonable job of it. There wasn’t much left by the time I’d cut off his head and ‘wings’, but not to be deterred I tied a cord around his tail and hung him up to dry.

I have no idea how long you’re supposed to dry a fish for. Hours? Days? But I thought if I left him overnight he’d probably get soaked in condensation and go slimy, so towards sunset I unstrung him and prepared to eat my first home-dried flying fish.

The flesh was still more like sashimi than dried, but it was a nice firm texture, tasted good although not a strong flavour, and I’ve suffered no adverse after-effects. And it made a nice change to eat something that didn’t come out of a packet. So I can declare my first Atlantic fish supper a success.

Tiny – love getting your texts, always a cheering mixture of encouragement and sound advice, from someone who knows. Especially cheered by your opinion that I am now unlikely to join the 100 Day Club – estimable though its members are, I have no desire to be one of them. I hope to prove you right. But conditions today have been oh so still, and progress oh so slow, it is sometimes hard to believe that I will ever get there at all!

Thanks also to Rachel Haining (photos are tricky, especially when both hands have to be in picture! 2 small tripod mounts and a 5 second self timer my only aids. Good luck in Turin), John T (glad you liked the dispatch – honesty sometimes takes some courage, but would be a discourtesy to my readers to be otherwise), Caroline Haines, Jeff, Duncan (avoiding other boats while asleep? Fingers crossed and hope for the best, mostly!).

Rita Savage’s PS: Another batch of Sponsored Miles:
Tanya Savage 1467; and before long: Cliff Butters 1492; David Laycock 1494; Brian Yates 1499; Mark Hankey 1500.

There have been many nice comments about Roz’ daily dispatches. The one I like best is: “just want to say how much we are enjoying your blogs (Chris’ too – funny how solos write the best ones) and wish to send best wishes and support.” (R&P Stagg) Chris Martin’s website is

For GPS position, race position and miles from La Gomera, see

Wind: E, 8-12 knots (estimate)
Weather: sunshine and cloud
Sea state: moderate to calm
Hours rowing: 12

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