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Drying Fish, Killing vs Eating, and Marine Debris–VIDEO

August 7, 2012

In this report from June 27, Murre and I are almost 900 miles north of Hawaii. It’s day 7 and we’ve caught a big fish…

(By way of reminder, this is the fish.)

Six foot Marlin–but this was caught with a big hook.

The video log comes from the cabin where I’m preparing the meat.




Reflections upon falling overboard…

  1. Unintended permalink
    August 7, 2012 5:11 pm

    Like the drying project. Very interested in drying on boat, how long it takes, what the end result is…fish jerky? Here on land we worry about flies. I suppose you have none of that mid-ocean.

    • August 8, 2012 8:22 am

      The videos are unrehearsed and so are not so chocked full of detail or rounded out as one might hope.

      After what you see, the trays of sliced fish are placed in the sun/wind (on top of the dinghy and strapped down–amazingly nothing’s ever blown away) where normally a day or two later they are ready to be brought back in and placed in an airy, mesh bag and eaten at will. In this case, however, we hit cloud right after the video and I had to bake the strips in the oven on low for a time to finish them off. Then into the mesh bag went the strips and I hung the bag above the heater, where it still hangs today. Even in Sitka, I have a few uneaten strips left.

      Not sure how dry a piece of meat needs to be in order to preserve it over a long period of time. I prefer it not to be leather-dry for reasons of taste and ease of chewing. I have noticed that after a time, say two/three weeks, the meat begins to be covered in a white, powedery … mould? I presume it’s mould. I’ve continued eating this batch and have found the mould does not effect the flavor nor does it have any ill effects.

      • Unintended permalink
        August 8, 2012 6:20 pm

        Interesting. I have read the drying of meat (almost all of it devoted to making jerky) is considerably more complex than fruits or vegetables, with more precise heat ranges required, and I have even seen cautions directed at newbies such as myself to “not try this until you’ve mastered fruits and vegetables.” Your approach seems both remarkably successful and invitingly casual. I’ll do a bit of research and backchannel to you what I find. One book at Mom’s is comprehensive and I won’t be able to retrieve it for a week.

  2. August 9, 2012 4:41 pm

    Being entirely untutored but minimally experienced (two fish) in this subject my first reaction was that anything can be made to be complex if a book needs filling and/or litigation forestalled. I doubt the “first peoples” who first dried meats had a first part of the technology contemporary authors require. Interested in what you find… Interested to find out if I should be dead from food poisoning too…

    • Unintended permalink
      August 13, 2012 8:13 pm

      Ah, well, notice all your “first peoples” are now dead. That tells you something right there. Obviously they needed thicker books.

  3. August 16, 2012 3:42 am

    Very interesting! For our upcoming crossing from Baja to Marquesas we plan to dry fruit, veg, meat and fish. And algae, though Henrik is skeptic to that one. Before our Atlantic crossing we bought a small yellowfin tuna from the fishermen at the Cabo Verde Island we were at, cut the filets into steaks, rubbed in salt, dried in the cockpit sun (took it in over night, due to dew) and placed in airtight containers when dry. Needed soaking before cooking, but tasted good, and didn’t go bad (some were forgotten and eaten 3 months later). We’ve also sliced fish really thin, sprinkled with a little salt or soy sauce, and dried as chips, dried really quick. Great for both snacks and adding to meals without soaking. In a cabin up North we dried moose meat by hanging thin strips over the wood stove (dene native advice), I guess the same should work for drying in the sun, maybe marinating beforehand, for taste. Alaskan natives dry their salmon just hanging on racks by the bonfire. I don’t think it needs to be to high tech. But guess it’s vital in hot climates, when not having a fridge, to have the pieces thin enough so it dries before the heat makes it a bacteria feast. Or use salt. But drying is better and healthier. Ah, I just love this theme 🙂

    • August 31, 2012 1:05 pm

      Hey Nina, sorry to have missed this comment. Man, so full of good information. I have dried fruit and veg on the boat a little–but only when it has fallen into a corner and I’ve forgotten about it for several weeks. Cherry tomatoes especially seem to like this treatment. Avocados not so much. Good idea re the tuna steaks–kind of like the way old time sailors kept meat for long periods of time. Yes, I too am skeptical re the algea. Let me know how that one goes.

      Glad to hear you will be back aboard BIKA again soon. Enjoy French Polynesia.

      Hello to Henrik for me.



  1. Introduction | Murre and the Pacific

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