Saturday, July 7, 2012


Noon Position: 15 22' N, 115 59' W, SOG 6.2, COG 345, Day's Run 140nm.
WARNING: Those of you who are easily offended by the throwing of wild
animals may want to find a different blog to read today. We had a good
ride through Daniel last night, with the breeze slowly building and
backing as Daniel (finally declared a hurricane last night) passed north
of us. Most of the night was spent tearing along in force 8, with
several hours of force 9 winds. The seas surprisingly didn't get
particularly big or steep, never seemed to get over about 10 ft, and
didn't ever start breaking really heavily, just sort of crumbling aboard
and alongside as they went by. I didn't end up getting to sleep until
the breeze got back down to force 8 around midnight, and was up a lot
through the rest of the night, so this morning after dropping the
staysail and setting part of the jib I went straight back to sleep.
About an hour later the breeze had dropped some more, and I woke up and
went into the cockpit still groggy-eyed, to unroll the rest of the jib.
I was reaching for the furling line when I realized that there was a
brown fuzzy ball sitting on top of the jib sheet and furling line on the
bench. Now, I would like to tell you how, being the hardened,
adventurous seaman that I am, I calmly assessed the situation and
reacted with dignity and aplomb. Unfortunately, I screamed like a
little girl and jumped back below, now fully awake. I slowly peered
back around the edge of the companionway and found myself staring into
the sleepy eyes of a brown booby. I quickly withdrew. About a minute
later I peeped out again and it was back asleep, head tucked under it's
wing, but still standing, wobbling back and forth on it's stumpy little
legs like some sort of giant fuzzy toy egg. Occasionally the boat would
take an extra big lurch and one leg would make a little stutter-step for
balance, then gently resume rocking, all without blinking an eye. The
booby didn't seem particularly disturbed, so, I slowly pulled the
furling line out from under its tail and set the rest of the jib and
then, inspired by its example went back below and to sleep. The next
time I came on deck there was a lovely stream of grey running down the
seat from the booby. Enough, I decided, you may be tired from the
hurricane, but that gives you no excuse to make a mess upon my decks,
and I picked the booby up, eliciting nothing more than a groggy blink as
it pulled its head out, and unceremoniously dumped it overboard. The
wind had eased by this time, so after scrubbing the deck I went to set
the main. Just as I was finishing up the booby was back, landing this
time on the cabin top, butt poised dangerously over the topping lift.
Scrubbing the deck is one thing, but cleaning liquified fish off of line
is entirely another. Still, I felt a little sorry for it - I was tired,
and I had been able to get some sleep last night, whereas I imagine it
had been airborne in the thick of the storm. Finally I picked the booby
up again and put it on the floor of the cockpit under the wheel, where
theres a steady wash of water from the cockpit drains, so that anything
unpleasant gets rinsed away before it has a chance to stick. As I write
this the booby is still sitting there, eyes closed, rocking back and
forth. I wish I had sea legs as good as his.

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