Year 5 Day 85 A Burial At Sea
25 April 2012 | In Route To Great Keppel Island
First, for the benefit of our kids, let me say that both your mom and I are healthy and happy. The title of this blog is not about one of us. Instead, it is about an Australian guest that came aboard last night. Alas, our guest passed away this morning and following the traditions of the sea, we conducted a burial at sea. I wish I could have draped an Australian flag over the body before we slid it overboard but, after 6 months of fluttering in the breezes, our Australian courtesy flag that is flying up by the first spreader is nothing more than a swatch of blue with a few stars and a bit of red and white stripes.
Anyway, when I got up this morning, I went to the top of the helm to adjust how the third reef line ties onto the boom. That is when I found our guest. He was still alive but was having a hard time keeping his head up. Most of the time he was just sitting there with his beady little eyes closed.
I am not sure what type of sea bird he was. He was about the size of a morning dove but with a black body and wings and a patch of white on top of his head. He had webbed feet.
After watching him for a bit, I went below to get the camera and I took some pictures of him. I will post one of them when we next have Internet.
I left him alone in the hopes that he would recover and fly away. When I returned about a half hour later he had keeled over and was lying there with his little web feet sticking straight up into the air. This is when the burial at sea occurred as I picked him up by his feet and tossed him into the drink. So much for our morning excitement!
This afternoon we weighed anchor at 1500. We carefully made our way across the lagoon, zigzagging past the coral heads and then through the narrow channel. While the winds were very good in the morning, (i.e. 15 to 20 knots) by 1530 they had moderated to about 10 knots from the SE. Since our course is to the WNW, they are, once again, basically behind us. We have about 5 knots of apparent wind. The apparent wind was so light that we decided not even to put up the sails since the winds have been dying down some during the night.
Our sail is just 90 nm and at 5 knots, it should take us about 18 hours. We should arrive sometime around 0900 or 1000, depending on the current. Our position at 1830 is 23 48.06'S: 152 07.4'E. Our course is 290 True and speed is about 5.2 knots with low RPMs. The seas are only about a meter from the SE with a 5 second period. Our destination is Great Keppel Island, about 7 nm west of the mainland.