Hawaii Day 5 (Micronesia Day 22) – Mahi-notta

Friday, July 12, 2013
11:41 P.M.

This is going to be another quickie just to let you know how my day went. It was good. Bye.


Ok, I’ll give you a little more detail than that. Yesterday was exhausting, and we didn’t waste any time exhausting ourselves today either. We woke up at 5:30 or so and headed down to a pier in Kailua-Kona to go on a half-day fishing adventure with “Bite Me” charters. I personally feel like the fish should be biting the lure and not the captain, but I’ll play it safe and just assume that their name refers to the hope of landing a big, pelagic fish. “Pelagic” refers to fish that migrate the open seas and don’t just stay in one area close to shore, although they definitely do come close to shore on occasion. An example of a common pelagic fish would be the Mahi-Mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), and an example of a not-so-common pelagic fish would be the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus thynnus). A word of advice… if you catch a huge bluefin tuna, either release it or sell it to the Japanese. Earlier this year, a 489 pound bluefin sold for 1.8 million dollars (155.4 million yen) in Tokyo. In my opinion, a worldwide ban needs to be placed on the commercial fishing of bluefin tuna.

But let’s get back to our fishing adventure. We fished for 4 hours and got 1 bite. Suffice to say, the fishing was slow. We listened to the radio and heard of nearby boats catching Blue Marlin anywhere from 150 to 500 pounds, but we didn’t get nothin’. Thankfully, my mom’s “shift” was rolling when the mahi below bit, so she got to reel it in and we got the fish.

My mom and the deckhand with her fish. Mahi Mahi are some of the most beautiful fish in the sea.

Look at those colors! Many tropical fish (sailfish, mahi-mahi, marlin, tunas) have chromatophores that cause the skin of the fish to turn bright and vivid when they get excited or stimulated (aka they are trying to escape death). A couple hours after we had killed the fish, it still had pretty colors, but they were much more subdued than before

Still a really pretty fish, though.

One thing worth noting is how hazy the sky is. It’s not fog. According to the locals, it’s “vog,” which is haze produced by the active volcanoes on the island, namely Kilauea and Mauna Loa. I was taken by surprise when I first saw how hazy the sky was… this isn’t L.A.; Hawaii is over the open ocean. But now, it all makes sense. Kona is downwind of the particles released from the volcano and Hilo, on the other side of the island, is upwind. On Thursday when we went to Hilo, things were still a tad voggy, but to a much lesser extent.

And, as I’m sure most of you are aware, water in the tropics is generally much bluer than water near our coast and in Puget Sound due to the relative lack of nutrients in the tropics. Take a look at the picture above and see how blue the water is! That thing that we are reeling in is a net that got snagged onto one of our lures. Nets like these are dangerous and can kill fish if they get trapped in them, so we took the net out of the water. Ironically, fish (especially mahi) love to congregate around these nets because of the shelter they offer and the chance that they might house organisms they can eat (we found a couple small crabs on the net). We did not see any fish by this net though.

After the trip was done, we had the fish filleted at the official “Bite Me” restaurant. Our fish only weighed 8 pounds and there was only ~3.5 pounds of meat, but we set aside one pound for dinner that night, another pound for dinner tomorrow night, and gave the rest to another couple on the boat who wanted it. For dinner that night, we gave the fish to the restaurant, asked them to cook it up for us, and got half-off on our entree because we provided the fish. It was absolutely delicious… you can’t go wrong with Mahi-Mahi.

After our charter, we took a much needed rest (remember Kilauea yesterday?) and then went boogieboarding before getting dinner. My mom’s quite the boggieboarder… she’s improved tremendously since our first outing. I looked for a green flash, but one of the best waves of the night obscured my view right as the sun was setting. That’s probably the only time I’ve been frustrated at a good wave. But even if the wave hadn’t come, I doubt I would have been able to see the green flash due to all the vog. As a little, talented boogieboarder said, “our volcano has been real busy lately,” and when volcanoes are busy, air quality deteriorates.

Haven’t heard anything from the Micronesia folk, but I’m hoping to get a response from them soon.

Ended 12:41 A.M. – waiting for Youtube video to upload (internet is very slow here!)

EDIT 8:44 P.M. 7/13/13

I put the finishing touches on this blog by adding a video I took of my mom catching the fish. She’s using an extremely stout rod and is sitting in a specialized fighting chair for an 8 pound fish. Also, the video quality is horrible, I didn’t know that taking videos with the camera turned 90 degrees ended up looking so bad on Youtube. Oh well, you know what they say, a day without an useless video uploaded to Youtube is an useless day.

– Charlie


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