We got to use our newly repaired foresail for only two days. In the evening of our second day at sea, the inner forestay T-terminal broke and left the sail swinging uncontrollably on its halyard. Because it was already dark, we decided not to take the sail down until the following morning, and tied it as best we could to the pulpit for the time being. A few hours later, we were hit by a strong front with headwinds gusting to 40+ knots and had no alternative but to heave to. We stayed hove to for the next 17 hours and when the front had passed, we took the sail down and stored it inside to wait for its resurrection.
As usual, we had been fishing uninterruptedly day and night. During the first day, we caught a piece of plastic and, on the second day, another piece of plastic, only bigger. But the thought of fried fish was so tempting that we continued fishing persistently and, on the third day, we caught … a shearwater or a Greater Shearwater (Puffinus gravis) - to be exact! The strange thing about this was that just a few hours prior to this incident we had been discussing how to prepare a seabird before cooking it in order to get rid of the strong, unpleasant taste of bird fat. According to Pekka, who as an ex-islander is more knowledgeable about the subject, the bird should be kept submerged in milk for at least a day.
Anyway, we had no intention of eating the poor thing splashing about in our wake. As there was practically no wind at all (thank god for that!), it was easy to reel the bird in and as soon as Pekka got it in the fish net, the hook came off its bill. When we lifted the bird out of the water, its wing got entangled in the net. I don't know about the rest of the shearwaters but this particular individual was extremely co-operative. In less than a minute, we had managed to get it free, and returned it to its own element unharmed as far as we could judge. Although the story had a happy ending, it meant no more fishing for us, at least for as long as there are any birds flying around. We are more than happy not to eat fish at all for the rest of our journey rather than risk catching another one of those beautiful shearwaters!