Today was an amazing day for wildlife. Not only did I see my first Great Petrel (like the Storm Petrels, but considerably bigger) but the chaps downstairs put on quite a spectacular show for me.
When I say “the chaps downstairs”, you might be picturing the three or four dorados and a couple of stripy pilot fish that I’ve mentioned before. But no – today my fishy friends were present in their hundreds. It started at breakfast time. I was sitting on deck, eating my breakfast, when there was a huge kerfuffle. The water suddenly erupted, right next to the port beam. And then calmed again, leaving a large patch of unnaturally calm water where it had been frothing and seething just a moment before. I couldn’t tell, at the time, whether it had been one very large Something or lots of small Somethings.
But the later appearance of the fishy hordes would seem to suggest it was a multitude of smaller Somethings. Coming out of my cabin after recording my NASA cloud observations, I glanced down into the water, and it was like there was a whole fish convention going on right underneath my boat. Throngs of fish were schooling backwards and forwards. I was quite mesmerised by the sight, and simply stared in awe and wonderment for several minutes before it occurred to me that I ought to get my camera.
Actually, maybe it was less of a convention, more of a pitched battle. There was a huge school of yellowfin tuna, and a whole bunch of dorados. And they didn’t seem to be getting on too well together. While the school of yellowfins were swishing backwards and forwards under my boat, I could see that one of them had an open wound on its back, just next to its dorsal fin, about the size of a bitemark.
Eventually the fracas ended and the crowds dispersed. But it was all very exciting. Better than TV!
I changed some of the wheel bearings on my rowing seat today, which were rusting and disintegrating. Not really surprising after the tough life they’ve had. A very messy job. Oily and gunky. Amazing how the gunk manages to spread itself around. Much mopping with detergent required before order was restored.
Juliet – I did get to enjoy a hot drink today. I decided to try out the Nescafe instant caramel latte sachets that Lesley gave me in Geraldton. Funnily enough, I’m actually not much of a coffee drinker, despite my frequent mentions of caramel lattes. It is more the coffee shop experience that I cherish, rather than the coffee itself. I was distinctly dubious beforehand. As I poured the sachets into my mug, and took a sniff, I was still unconvinced, but actually it wasn’t too bad at all. It lasted me all morning – thank heavens for thermos mugs. But drinking coffee for the first time in 3 months can have consequences. My advice would be: don’t try it unless you’re close to a bathroom, or at least a bedpan.
Tom – Crescent City, wow, that brings back memories! That was 2007. Good to hear from you. Hope you are still enjoying scuba!
Kurt, Chris, Jay, Cece, Doug, thanks for the words of encouragement and support. Much appreciated.
Chris Martin – you said “I’m here all week”. Where?!
Maureen – actually I don’t “stink rotten”. So am safe to hug, even figuratively. I do bathe every day, you know, even if it is only with a bucket and sponge. And after a good airing yesterday, my cabin is drier and fresher now too, with a distinct aroma of tea tree oil.
John H – good jokes!
Graham Dickie – thank you so much for writing to the BBC about me. Let’s hope they take notice! I feel very under-appreciated in my home country, so it would be nice to see that change.
David Tangye – if only 18 hours of wind did equate to 50 miles! At 30 knots of wind, it’s worth around half of that, provided there is no adverse current. But you’re right, it is some consolation, during the rough times, to know that the high winds are (usually) helping me in more or less the right direction.
Photo: I am rather proud of today’s photo of the school of yellowfins teeming beneath my boat.
Quote: “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” (John Muir)
Quote 2, courtesy of Julian Hapel: “I am a citizen of the most beautiful nation on earth. A nation whose laws are harsh yet simple, a nation that never cheats, which is immense and without borders, where life is lived in the present. In this limitless nation, this nation of wind, light, and peace, there is no other ruler besides the sea.” Moitessier.
Sponsored Miles: 28 miles since yesterday morning. Today’s thanks go to Carl Jones, Colm Coogan, Diane Freeman, and to Callum, Fraser and Freya Ellis with the message Go, Roz!