Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 11

After I had already posted yesterday's entry, we had an unusual and noteworthy event. Vicki was on watch and spotted a sail on the eastern horizon, about 4 miles off our port side. The other boat was on an intersecting course and passed within a mile and half astern of us. It could only be Pericles, who has been within 25 miles for the last week or so. This was confirmed during the evening radio roll call. Pretty amazing to see another vessel this far from land!
I recorded a boat speed of 0.00 knots for the first time during this morning's watch. At least we have a favorable current that is still carrying us along close to 1 knot. We don't want to motor this early in the trip; we need to save fuel for the doldrums as we cross the equator. The wind finally picked up around 2pm, and as I write this we are making over 6 knots with the spinnaker and unreefed main. But the highest wind we have seen today is only about 12 knots.
The morning weather forecast from Don Anderson in Oxnard, CA, confirmed that this is part of a large pattern of unsettled weather. He predicted formation of a "mini-cyclone" in the next two days in our vicinity. There will only be winds of about 25 knots associated with this, but it will make for a large area of irregular wind patterns. So much for the tradewinds! The early season forecast was for "reinforced" (stronger) trades due to La Nina. So far its been just the opposite.
Our afternoon's entertainment was provided by a booby, which skidded in for a landing on the bimini top and ended up clinging precariously to the lifeline, right where I had pinned my towel to dry after showering. I waited for the inevitable blast of booby poop to befoul my towel, but he repositioned himself in a few minutes and I was able to whisk it out of reach. No harm, no foul. At that minute all 3 of our trolling lines were hit by bonito, and all hands rushed on deck to reel in the catch of the day. The booby seemed to know what this was all about, and rather than being scared off by all the commotion, he (she?) peered intently at the fish as they were being reeled in. All were too small to keep, but one had swallowed the hook and was too injured to be released, so we put it in a bucket and held it out to the booby. He gamely tried to get his bill around this supersized snack, but it was an order of magnitude larger than his usual prey and he had to reluctantly give up.

At that point, Dennis decided enough with the booby and its poop, and sprayed both off of the boat with a freshwater hose. But the booby was determined to make the most of this temporary roosting spot, and after circling a few more times, landed on the radar dome partway up the mast. A perfectly flat, booby-sized perch! Josh tried to dislodge it with his (nonlethal) pellet gun, by shooting peanuts at it with a slingshot, and by trying to heave a line up to scare it away. Nothing worked, and Dennis took up the battle with the heaving line. He succeeded only in snagging the free end of the spinnaker halyard around the radar dome, leaving us temporarily unable to lower the spinnaker. Carol got everything back to where it should be, but as darkness falls, the booby is still firmly perched atop the radar dome!

1 comment:

Jeff and DeLynn said...

What a hoot! A cheer for the stamina of that boobie.