Fridays trip was simply unbelievable! That rare day you just had to be there to believe and one for the memories. Unfortunately, it wasnt all good though either. After getting my boat and trailer back from the shop, this was supposed to be the first test drive, or post maintenance systems check if you prefer. We were hoping to find some paddies around the 390 in search of October pelagic, but we didnt quite make it. As we were cruising out under the illumination of a very full moon and just before first gray the engine suddenly stopped and wouldnt relight no matter what we tried. Crap, single engine again! Well we wont be going any further south thats for sure, since it'll already take about 5 hours to get back from here. So, like any avid fisherman would, we made the best of the very bad situation and threw out the trollers, since our best possible forward speed also happened to be the optimum trolling speed as we headed home. Maybe wed see some nice paddies on the way. Not long thereafter the area started to look awfully fishy. The water was clean, blue and 69 degrees. Shimmering bait kept popping at the surface, birds started working around us, then more obvious boils and splashes appeared, but always just out of reach. We found and stopped on a very small paddy where some foamers just vacated and watched a huge red splotch appear deep on the sonar. We worked it for a while, but only picked up a small Mako and a small blue shark before we were again on the move. Soon the zucchini broomtail set long gets a hit, but cant find its mark. We worked another kelp stringer for a while and after a long soak my mac finally got some attention, but it was such a weak strike that I assumed it was just another blue shark. Until, that is, about a hundred yards away it literally BLEW UP in white water and this huge blue and white shape flew out of the water! We both said MAKO, but the second time it jumped, it grew a much more prominent beak. Holy Cow its a MARLIN. Ive never landed a marlin before and looking at my TN30 loaded with fresh 25 lb Pink Ande top shot, over 65 lb spectra backing and a small 2/0 Owner circle hook -- it doesnt look like todays going to be my day either. Oh well the outcome was inevitable and easily predictable, but then again we didnt intend to keep it anyway. Hopefully, Morgan can get some good pictures with his I-phone (since I had already exhausted what few images were still left on my SD card that morning on stupid shit -- go figure). Watching it all lit up as it slowly peeled off line while jumping and tail-walking for the first 5 minutes was absolutely phenomenal. The spool was down to less than half and almost to spectra before we were able to make up some ground chasing it down using single engine power. 10 minutes into the engagement, the obvious and inevitable conclusion occurred; I felt the tail hit the line and that was it. It was off! What was fresh new line earlier that morning was now a milky white where it was obviously abused and abraded. I cut the bad line off and retied another 3/0 hook this time. On the troll again, the Tiagra 50W LRS with a green and yellow jet head set short goes off big time, but quickly becomes unglued after about 10 seconds. Then Morgan spots a nice big paddy with birds all over it, but no marks to speak of underneath. It was simply too nice to pass up, but it required another really long soak of a horse sardine to illicit a response. When I went tight, it really didnt feel like there was much there again, until another Striped Marlin flew out of the water -- A big one! This one was a monster and about a foot longer than the first -- Conservative estimate put it around 9 ft. Within seconds and before we could even start the motor, my reel was down to spectra as it jumped and greyhounded towards the West where the only other vessels visible on the horizon were joined and sailing northwest. CVN-76 was steaming alongside the Canadian Supply Ship Protecteur. The Striper dragged us through some thick kelp about 5 times that we had to work through. One time the line was 90 degrees out at 3 oclock on a thick kelp stringer 15 yds away before we noticed the fish pop about 50 yds in front of the bow. We managed to successfully clear the line all 5 times and continued the chase. The battle lasted one hour and 20 minutes and covered 3 miles of water in spite of multiple direction changes and crazy Ivans close to the boat. Not wanting to gaff or harm the fish in any way, we finally got her parallel and inside of 5 feet several times -- Once as close as three feet (well within gaff or leader range, but not close enough to reach down and grab the bill). The fish ultimately snapped the 25 lb line; kept pace with us as she paralleled our course just 10 feet away for several seconds; then noticed she was free, turned right to pass astern, and swam off like nothing ever happened. Now we are way behind schedule to get home, but that didnt stop us from investigating a huge and very active pod of dolphin late in the afternoon. They were NW of the Coronados when we turned south to meet them, and like homing torpedoes from every direction they turned to swarm us and within seconds the reel with the zucchini broomtail set long starts singing. Im thinking YFT the whole time, but in short order we have our first BFT of the day bled and on ice. If only we had more time. We coaxed the dolphin to join us on the trek home, but no other BFT wanted to play. From the 9 mile bank on in the ocean was alive! We started noticing spouts of water on the horizon that soon became multiple groups of large Finback Whales roiling around us in every direction -- including a surprise popup just a few boat lengths away that we never knew was there as we were completely entranced by all of the other groups of Finbacks feeding, finning, rolling and breaching all around us for miles. Every place we looked dark shapes came out of the water. We had never seen anything in that magnitude in all our years. We were even visited by a pod of Risso Dolphins close aboard; those fins are huge and definitely got our attention too. Aside from some more sea lions and birds, that was pretty much it for this episode of National Geographic, but just prior to reaching the whistler buoy, we were stopped by the Harbor Police who shouldered us as they checked for proper onboard floatation before they allowed us to continue onward to complete our required chores. Another 22 hour trip! Cleaned the fish; cleaned the boat; and dragged the boat and trailer home again for yet another unanticipated and unscheduled rendezvous with the repair shop. It is there now. Fingers crossed. Morgan and I are convinced that had we not lost an engine and were forced to travel around at a third of normal speed, we probably would have zipped by and missed the best part of today. Im hoping Morgan can produce some quality images that I will post as they arrive. That ocean was very much alive and there is A LOT OF FISH OUT THERE CLOSE BY -- so dont winterize your gear just yet. If I could go out tomorrow again, I would in a heartbeat. That was one very memorable trip -- some great memories, but unfortunately another one (memory) I could do without. Updated 21 OCT: The pictures finally uploaded successfully. You may have to zoom in order to determine that it is not a sarcastic fringe-head way out there afterall..