The fisherman's fight with the Wahoo- Pacific Rally 2023

 A great response to a trauma injury onboard one of our offshore boats away with Island cruising association in the Pacific this season.

Myself and the medics at Oceania Medical are impressed by the wound closure done onboard if a difficult area of the body to staple and in difficult conditions.

Happy to hear the patient has made a good recovery :



Passage below from the crew onboard. Some great tips of how you can be best prepared for a medical event at sea.

"On passage from Auckland to Tonga 3 days out from Auckland we hooked up a large Wahoo.

We gaffed the fish and got it on board but in the struggle to finish it off it managed to get its jaws around one of the crew’s legs.

These fish have big mouths equipped with a lot of small razor sharp teeth, our patient who is a builder later described it as like being attached with two hacksaws!

The damage was a gash in the back of the leg and an open wound in the front on the lower shin.

We gave the patient one 10mg Oxycodone for the pain.

There was a lot of blood but obviously not arterial so we cleaned the wounds and stapled up the gash on the back with 8 staples. This proved to be a bit more challenging than working on a piece of meat on the offshore medical course. We used one person to hold the wound closed while another worked the stapler.

We figured that we could not close the front wound to staple it so we used steri strips and dressed it.

We then contacted RCCNZ for further advice.

Initial contact was by telephone call through the iridiumGo where we explained the situation and arranged for follow-up contact by email.

Before departure I had prepared an email which listed all the contents of our Cat one kit. This is a very important point as trying to discuss medications, the names of which I cannot pronounce, over a bad phone connection is far from ideal.

I sent my preprepared email with some other details and very soon they had sent back instructions to administer a course of antibiotics for 5 days, Amoxicillin 500mg three times a day and Metronidazole 400mg three times a day. Together with pain relief as required.

We dressed the wounds a couple of times before arriving in Tonga and it appeared that there was no infection.

On arrival in Tonga he saw a doctor who said our work was quite good and she prescribed a further course of antibiotics.

Now a month later and back in NZ he reports that it is healing up OK and he expects to be back on his windsurfer very soon.  

We had someone flying up to Tonga so I emailed Oceania Medical with an order for replacements for the drugs, dressings and stapler used, very easily arranged – thank you.


Key points:

  • Having the Cat One medical kit contents list ready to send saved a lot of time and potential misunderstanding.
  • We found communicating by email easy and avoided any misunderstanding regarding drugs and further action to take.
  • Wear seaboots, gloves etc when handling large fish!!


Pictures attached are about 48 hours after the incident"