A new friend...


d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update

Presented by Pivotel

Afternoon All,

Happy Halloween to everyone.  I don’t have a pumpkin here so if you’re carving them make one for me too and enjoy trick or treating...  

Things have been going well on-board as the winds have steadied from the East.  Last night I was just entering a section of reef nick named the outer reef and needed to navigate through this over night.  It was a fairly simple task as the sections of reefs were more than 30nm apart making for lots of clear water to sail through.  I am now just about to sail clear of the final reef called Holmes Reefs before being back in open waters for anther 2 days.  

The winds have been mostly 10-15 knots but last night they increased to 25 knots so I needed to get on deck to change the jib from the large one to the smaller one at sunset.  While I was up there I heard a squark and looked up to see not only one but two birds fighting for the right to roost up my mast tonight.  I am still not quite sure what type of sea bird these are so I am just going to keep calling them Boobies but if you can identify them from the pic please comment below and let me know.

So here I was just as the last of the light was fading and the sun fell beyond the horizon and I couldn’t help laughing at the antics of these two birds up the mast.  One would get a good grip and settle in on the spreader while the other one circled and then as soon as the one flying in circle notices its friend looking all too happy and smug it would fly in and practically land right on top as it would shove the other one off its lofty perch.  This went on for over half an hour before they both flew off.

It had been another hot day and the inside of the boat was still a little too hot to comfortably relax in so I have taken to sitting in the cockpit and reading books on my kindle until later in the night when the temperature would drop enough to make it manageable inside.  It was whilst I was chilling on deck after my sail change that I was startled by a thunk and a squark....

One of the Boobies had come back and landed right near my wind generator on what I could see was the smallest thing to sit on in the whole of the boat.  I have this piece of spectra rope that is 5mm thick running between the two wind generators to take out a little of the vibrations and this bird that is the size of a large house cat is now perched on this tiny little bit of string.  The boat is moving and lurching beneath him/her so when I looked up all I could see was this ridiculous sight of this bird looking like a drunk on a tight rope as it flipped one way and then the other trying to balance.  Laughing out loud I spent the next 30 minutes just watching this bird trying to balance.  Every time I would laugh really loudly it would look over at me and glare...  I decided to try to get close enough to get a good pic and managed to get within a foot with the Boobie just calmly watching me with not a concern in the world.

As the boat would swing the wind-generator blades would also swing over it’s head and it would reach out and bite them.  The wind gens were running at that time so it wasn’t an issue but I was going to turn them on soon and I didn’t want my new buddy to become chopped liver so I ended up pushing it from its perch.  It flapped off with a squark of frustration.

I again returned to reading my book and two minutes later was startled with a flying fish landing at my feet.  What was with the nature last night I do not know.  I scrambled and grabbed something to pick it up with and tossed the fish back in the sea.  

Again I settled into read my current good book and a few minutes later I heard an even louder squark and thud.  It was a sickening thud of a crash landing and I realised that my wind generators were now operating and those blades were spinning at full speed.  I looked and on the back deck was my Boobie friend again looking shaken but unharmed so I went and immediately turned off the wind generators because this bird would likely fly directly into them trying to get off my boat.

That done I was trying to work out the best way to get this bird of my boat.  I love animals and normally wouldn’t have an issue with a hitch hiker but I worried about the wind gens and this becoming a repeat risk for my little feathered friend and so for it’s own safety it needed to learn that my boat was not a good island to sleep on for the night.

These birds have some impressive beaks so I grabbed a winch handle and tried to shoo it off the back.  It somehow managed to flap over me and land on my life raft.  It was going with purpose towards the main hatch in the boat and I could just imagine trying to get it out from the inside of my little yacht.  Sneaking around the side I closed the main hatch and turned again to shoo it along.  It attacked the winch handle for a minute and I am not quite sure how it happened but it managed to flap a little and land on my safety tether that was still attached to me and basically hugging my stomach.  After another quick flap I now had a completely wild Boobie Bird sitting on the winch handle inches from my face just looking at me completely unfazed.  I laughed a little as the absurdity of the situation and then carefully walked to the railing edge and with a flap of goodbye sent my new friend back into the ocean.

I stayed waiting on deck for a while to see if it would try to land again but it seemed that getting up close and personal with me was enough for my feathered friend for the night so I flicked my wind generators on again and went below to try and sleep.  It was well over midnight by now and I was quite tired but sleep was hard to come by.  I ended up with some short light naps and frequent checks of the chart and surrounding reefs so I was still very tired by the time I dragged myself from bed.

I was pleased to see that their was no chopped liver of a bird on deck and all was well.  The boat was going great and there was no course alterations needed so I spent the remainder of the day just pottering about.  By mid afternoon the winds had eased a little and I was able to get my larger head-sail out again and really start moving.  Here's hoping that tonight is bird and drama free.

Thanks to the following Sponsors for all their continued support: d’Albora Marinas, Pivotel  B&G, Australian Geographic, Zhik , Park Fuels, Karver, 3M, White Bay 6 Marine Park, and Great Circle Life Raft