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Monday, July 09, 2018

July 9, 2018-Booby Visit

wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Boobies Arrive

Sometime a little before sundown the first night out, when the late afternoon light was at its most intense and the air was so clear that the mountains of Baja were still visible 48 miles to the west the first few boobies came rolling in to check us out.

I was on watch and I saw them coming and just because they are such beautiful fliers I turned to follow their flight. They came in high and circled the boat on the glide craning their necks to look back at me. I saw them jitter a little going through the backwash of the sails and then swoop down to the wave tops off to leeward and brush their wing tips along the crests and troughs of the blue Pacific swells as they circled back for another pass.

Within moments there were two more, and then ten. Before long there were 50 to 100 boobies circling around Wings and making passes at the rig and sails. I had no idea where they came from of how they all found their way to this spot in the ocean, or why they found us so interesting.

In the deepening shadows they were contrasted against the indigo sky and the swirling motion of 100 boobies was overwhelmingly beautiful and I watched, captivated. The boat was sailing quietly and the birds made no sound, it was all just visual. As I lay on the deck looking upward and the swell rolled Wings' mast, the birds seemed to lurch towards the mast and sail, then lurch away. It was only the movement of the boat but the image was astonishingly beautiful; it was magical. I needed a video camera but not having one I reached for the Nikon, but it just did not properly capture the spinning, wheeling, wild ballet over my head.

As suddenly as they came they all flew off, all together and in the same direction, to the South East, and I was left sailing alone again.

But it wasn’t over.

Within minutes, just before darkness set in, another group came and they repeated the whole thing, circling and swooping and checking out the boat and the sails. Some made passes as if to land but swerved away at the last minute.

So I watched the second group come and go, then a third, and then it was dark.

The next day a pair of boobies came during the daylight and proceeded to land on the bow pulpit. They tend to soil the boat so I tried to wave them off. It didn’t work; they just looked at me. Judy got the air horn and I blew that at them, which made them curious, but did not scare them off. Finally I walked to the front of the boat and when I got within a few feet of them they flew away, only to come back minutes later. Only by standing there could I keep them from landing. It was a stand-off, and I held out longer than they did and eventually they gave up and few away.

That night, the last night of that passage, boobies again came to visit and entertain us and each day pairs would try to hitch a ride. Not until we neared the mainland coast did they stop coming to us.

In many ways it was better than TV.

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Fred & Judy, SV Wings, La Cruz

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