“What on earth is that noise?”. It sounded like someone had just turned on a dentist’s drill in the cockpit. It was 4am, and we reluctantly got (back) up to check it out.
We’d just had a rough nights sleep, more of a nap really. The night before we’d been up plotting the best time leave Santa Cruz Island for the mainland. The hope was to make it to LA, but two fronts were forecast to pass through; a small one followed by a large one. Our goal was to time it such that we left pelican bay just after the first front in order to make it LA before the second one … that meant leaving at 4am.
The alarm went off at 3 and we slowly got up, a look at the weather outside indicated the first front had indeed passed. Nique began talking about an interesting dream he had in which we decided not to go to LA, but to Santa Barbara instead. We paused. That would mean we’d get to go back to sleep, and while it would postpone getting to LA, it would make for a more comfortable trip. It was decided. Though rather than Santa Barbara, we decided on Oxnard, which was more in the correct direction. We promptly crawled back into our respective berths.
Then, that noise. What on earth was it? A neighboring boats anchor being brought up? … no it was much too close. We opened the hatch and took a look in the cockpit. It was the fishing pole!! Nique had left a line in over night with a small amount of bait attached, and the pole was now bent full over with line whirring off it. I braced myself and picked up the pole, whatever was on the other side was MUCH stronger than I was. I tightened the drag. Still slipping, I tightened it more. No luck, line was still flying off the reel. Somehow I managed to get a few turns in, but it was now obvious that there was only a few seconds left of line on the reel. Sure enough, a quick jerk and then a snap and the beast on the other end was free.
We’re still unsure what it was that we had stumbled upon our line, but did manage to come up with some unbelievable explanations. Had a small fish swallowed the first hook, small enough we didn’t notice followed by a larger fish, then a larger one? Maybe a tuna? Maybe some unfortunate sea lion? Whatever it was I think we (us and the beast) should be very fortunate that the line snapped and we didn’t have to meet face to face in the cockpit.
It took a bit for the adrenaline to wear off … but the second nap of the night was excellent.