Posted by: Katie Transue
“Fish on!” Hank yells. I can hear it through the small window that divides my bunk, where I was sleeping, to the back deck, where Hank, Tyler and Shanlee are gathered to reel in our first catch of the trip.
“It’s a tuna…no…a Wahoo,” Shanlee says with excitement. She’s recently finished her yachtmaster course, and loves anything “sailing”. Hank is our resident marine biologist with a keen interest in the biodiversity of colonizing creatures on plastic pollution. If we come across some large debris, he’ll be diving under and around it with his wire cutters snipping of pieces of encrusted plastic. Now he’s hauling in lunch.
The Wahoo flies into the air, then back to water, slapping the surface as the hook and line pull it against its will. It submits quickly, which makes us think it may have been on the line a while and tired out. Soon it’s on deck and Hank gives it a quick cut to stop its suffering. We’re interested to see what’s in the stomach.
This fish is beautiful, with silvery-blue stripes and blotches down its back, black spines in it’s sail, large black pupils surrounded by deep blue, and triangular teeth in a long sharp row from the tip of its beak to deep in its mouth. Hank opens the belly to remove the stomach and place it on a cutting board.
There’s not much inside: two spherical lenses remaining from digested eyeballs, the spine of a smaller fish, and two lime-size parasitic worms latched onto the inside walls of the gut. They are filled with brown pre-digested blood. Alex is in sheer disgust/joy at squeezing one of them to remove its gut contents to see what’s inside.
Nothing, but good news. There’s no plastic here. Hank filets the remainder of the fish, which we’ll feed 14 crew today.