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Monday, October 28, 2013

Days 14&15 Tuamotus to Hawaii

By the end of week two of our passage we were still firmly in the grasp of the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) and an East setting current. We began motoring after sunset on Saturday and didn't shut the engine down until dawn on Monday. During that time we had hours of rain, some of it a light drizzle and some of it a good soaking, though none of it was enough to wash the encrusted salt off of the life lines, as hard as that is to believe.

We typically have sea birds following the boat at night, and we assume they are fishing in the glow of our running lights. We can't see them but we can hear their hideous squawking which at times sounds exactly like a cat screaming. Near midnight on Saturday the clamor of a few birds was especially loud but I ignored it until John woke up to say it sounded like the loudest cries were coming from the side deck above where he was in the quarter berth. As I collected my wits and a flashlight, Ziggy shot past me out the companionway. I followed him on to the side deck where I caught him in the beam of the light with a large bird in his mouth. I scruffed him by the neck to make him release the bird, which then fell to the deck on its back, wings spread open, unmoving. Moving quickly so that Ziggy wouldn't have a chance to regain control of his trophy, I gingerly grasped a wing between my thumb and forefinger and flung it over the side, and, I'm sorry to say, most likely to a watery grave. Usually Ziggy's prey flies up and away the second he releases his grip. But because this one didn't make a move when it was freed, or again when I picked it up, I suspect it was already seriously injured before Ziggy got to it. Perhaps it misjudged the motion of the boat and accidentally flew into the rigging, falling to the side deck, and doing more injury trying to get out of the maze of life lines. Or Ziggy might have been the last straw to finish it off. I looked for it in our Seabirds book and, based on the brief look I had of it, it appears to have been a juvenile Sooty Tern. It deeply saddens me that our mere presence in a speck of vast ocean is enough to inadvertently threaten the lives of wild creatures.

Day 14 Stats
Course: 006 degrees True
Trip Mileage: 123 nm
Water Temp: 81.5 to 82.9 F
Engine Hours: 14.2

Day 15 Stats
Course: 356 degrees True
Trip Mileage: 104 nm
Water Temp: 82.6 to 83.5 F
Engine Hours: 18.0

{GMST}08|49.7|N|142|17|W|Tuamotus to Hawaii Day 15|Day 15{GEND}