Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fearless Bird

Late this afternoon as I was working my way through a fishing fleet a bird decided to land on my solar panels. I chased him away for two reasons: birds tend to relieve themselves making quite an unpleasant mess to clean up and my concern that XO might go overboard chasing him.  

One of the real downsides of solo sailing is trading sleep and keeping a good watch. In the open ocean encounters are rare. We saw maybe 5 boats in the 37 days it took to cross from Panama to Hiva Oa. Almost everyone has an AIS transponder. They show up on the multifunction display long before you can see them visually. Here in the Torres straight there are lots of fishing boats with no AIS and quite a large number of uncharted buoys. So about every 15 minutes (24/7) one needs to stick one's head up and look around.

On one such trip I needed to adjust to adjust the sails. After 8 years I normally do this in the dark. It keeps my night vision intact. (When the moon is up it feels like daylight once your vision has adjusted.) I started cranking on a winch and noticed a dark blob in front of me on the lifeline. Sure enough it was my friend the bird. He watched quietly with my face 1 foot from him. When I waa done I went and got a red flashlight. I beamed it on him from 6" away. He looked at it, he looked at me, Nd he put his head under his wing. I made maybe 16 more trips to the cockpit before he flew away. He was unconcerned by my presence.

Fair winds and following seas :)

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