Wind, waves & boobies
07 June 2017
Those 14 knots of wind we had yesterday rose to more than 20 knots during the night, kicking up pointy waves, and generally making for quite an uncomfortable ride. Still riding with both headsails out (though we'd put our Code 0 away in favor of the staysail), SCOOTS surfed down the waves, rolling side to side, and, occasionally, was walloped by a wave from the side, sending her over even farther. For the first time, we deployed the lee cloths on the settee and slept there during our off-watches, contained in a snug cocoon.
Today, the wind and waves are still up, but I guess we've grown accustomed to them, because they don't seem as jarring. We've got the main and jib up on a broad reach, which is a lot more comfortable ride than rolling along dead downwind.
All this wind makes for fast boat speeds, though, and SCOOTS is cruising right along. When we left Minerva Reef, we hoped to make it to Navula Pass by Friday morning...now it looks like we'll arrive tomorrow (Thursday) morning. That's good, because some weather is due to arrive on Friday. By then, SCOOTS should be tucked into a berth at Port Denarau Marina.
We're excited for our first view of Fiji, which will most likely be the lights on Kadavu Island, sometime tonight. The wind is coming from behind us, so we won't be greeted by the smell of land until we get right up close, and downwind of the island. I'm wondering how it will compare to the first scents of Nuku Hiva or Tahiti....
Yesterday afternoon, three red-footed boobies appeared. They circled SCOOTS a few times, reconnoitering for possible landing sites. Eventually they came in for landings: one on the radar, one on the solar panels, and one on the antenna Eric made to receive satellite images over the radio. Eric immediately sprang into action. Though both of us don't mind having hitchhikers aboard, we don't like what they leave behind. Armed with the boat hook (in case you haven't seen one, they're blunt, not sharp), he stood on the top of the dodger, prodding each booby until it took off. They were all uninterested in the funny human that was yelling at them and poking them. One of the boobies even stepped up onto the boat hook pole, and stood there. Eric had to shake the pole to make it take flight.
As they circled back, time and time again, Eric would yell "NO!" at them, occasionally causing them to abort their landing. We even tried the air horn, but they didn't care. When one landed on the radar, we turned the radar on, hoping that the spinning bar would dislodge the bird. Nope. The booby just did a flat-footed tap dance on the rotating bar, to keep facing in the same direction.
When it was time for our night watches to begin, Eric had dissuaded all but one of the boobies to sleep on the water. This one perched resolutely on the solar panels, preening despite the wildly rocking surface. A pretty impressive feat, actually. We gave up and let it stay. When the booby took off this morning, it had left behind a clear record of its wild night, slip-sliding all over the panels in its own excrement. Lovely. Eric got the soapy water and cleaned the solar panels. It's all part of the glamorous life we lead.