Shepherd Moon - Visitations

We made good progress west yesterday, and we didn't break anything! Even the Blue Water Runner behaved, at least in a relative sense, although that bar is set very low; about sea level to be precise. Yesterday morning we saw a squall approaching on the radar and decided it would be best to furl away the Blue Water Runner until it was safely past. We'd managed to get it more or less furled but it was still a bit baggy around the clews (the bit where the ropes are attached, or more accurately, the sheets). We tried unfurling it a smidge to tidy it up and in the process the top and bottom unravelled, with only the baggy bit left furled. With ominous dark clouds fast approaching, we decided the only option was to drop the sail and get it tied on deck. Now where else would you drop the Blue Water Runner other than into the sea? It was more of a brief paddle than a full-blown swim, much to the Blue Water Runner's disappointment. Thankfully the squall proved to be more rainy than windy, and the resulting deluge washed the salt off the sail and soaked those of us still on deck. It is perhaps worth noting that Vanessa and Jacob's mad dash for the cockpit to attend to important, time-critical tasks happened to coincide with the first drops of rain landing on the deck.

We also had multiple visitations to keep us entertained. The first to arrive were a pod of dolphins. Unfortunately the sea was too choppy to see them clearly but one leapt completely out of the sea, just to make sure we knew he was there (he may have been a her but such exhibitionist tendencies suggest otherwise). Then, whilst we were changing sails (Blue Water Runner down; poled out genoa and staysail up) a bird turned up. After several false landing attempts (my head, a genoa sheet), he finally alighted on the liferaft. There he (or she) stayed for the next couple of hours, oblivious to all the banging and crashing going on around him. Thankfully my mother-in-law had eschewed the traditional socks and handkerchiefs, and instead bought me a brilliant sea bird book for Christmas. Thus armed, I managed to identify our visitor as a Brown Noddy, although it lacked the little red hat with a bell on top that would have made the identification more definitive.

Next to arrive were a plethora of flying fish, flip-flapping on the deck. Jacob and I managed to rescue three or four, but this morning the decks looked like the Somme. We recovered 12 dead flying fish in total, two of which might have been big enough to eat, but "sun-dried" fish for breakfast didn't really appeal. The last visitor was a pooping wave. My in-laws will no doubt remember all my tongue-in-cheek warnings about pooping greybeards. Well one finally turned up. The seas this morning were big and steep and one broke right over our stern. Thankfully we don't have a dingy on davits (too difficult to explain; Google it) otherwise the damage might have been more extensive. The only casualties were my pyjama bottoms (not my standard cockpit attire, I hasten to say), which are now slightly salty around the ankles.