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Date: 13 Aug 2016 23:34:00
Title: Big Ears and the fridge.

10:53.6S 150:14.2E

There's been some swearing on board as the boat rolls and jerks in the waves, and most of it has occurred when I've been trying to get something out of the fridge. We're on starboard tack, which means the fridge is leaning forwards so when you open the door everything wants to jump out. It's not so bad at the start of the voyage when it's packed full, but by day 6 we've eaten a fair deal so there's room for things to move - and they do. One tries to time the opening for when we're on a fairly even keel but once open just a small roll can mean the difference between a dexterous transfer of objects and an avalanche hitting you in the face. Jon remembers to this day the blueberry happening on the way to Fiji last year. The poor chap only wanted a drink and opened the door to receive a full punnet of blueberries tipped up in his face. They're bouncy little blighters when they're plump and fresh. We kept on thinking we'd found the last of them when an ominous squelch underfoot would occur when one rolled out of a hiding place.

The other splendid trick the fridge has is, when you've one hand steadying something on the surface, the other in the fridge, the boat suddenly decided to right itself and the heavy wooden door, with 6 inches of insulation inside a fiberglass skin, slams shut on your wrist. Oh dear, or words to that effect.

But what's made fridge expeditions particularly exciting this passage has been the semi-dried tomatoes in olive oil. Unfortunately the lid didn't stay on so they became semi-dried tomatoes out of oil. They were at the top of the fridge. With each passing wave that oil spread itself further and further around10. Now everything inside is slippery. We may just have to leave it closed 'till we drop the anchor.

The Boobies didn't try to stay again last night so it was a good job that Phil hadn't got around to constructing his patented Boobie perch for them. However, after dark, a pretty little brown bird came to try to take shelter and gave Jon (and himself) rather a shock. Perching on a moving boat is not easy, even the wonderfully acrobatic Boobies, who can skim the surface of a breaking wave with ease, find it hard to navigate swinging masts. Jon was sitting in the companionway when this little chap came sweeping in, making a play for the mizzen spreaders, then whompf! With no warning he had crashed into the mizzen sail and fallen like a stone into the cockpit! Jon didn't know if he was alive or dead but it soon became apparent that he was alive, crouching on the cockpit floor, but maybe injured. He was a delicate brown Common Noddy, so Phil named him Big Ears.

The wind got up in the small hours, as it does, so we had to take in the jib. Then it died down a little and we weren't going fast enough, so we had to let it out again, then the wind backed, so we had to trim the sails. Each time we tried to disturb Big Ears as little as possible, clambering around the sides of the cockpit to avoid frightening him, leaving off the deck lights so he wouldn't be troubled by them. We felt he had enough trauma in his life without us adding to it.

When morning light came I found the little window in our cabin that looks out into the cockpit gave us a clear view of Big Ears without disturbing him. "Your own personal nature program TV" Jon called it. The poor chap was sitting up but had one wing folded untidily - maybe damaged. He'd clearly decided that digestion was low on his current priorities as a half digested fish and a freshly swallowed silvery fish had been deposited beside him. We'll just keep on trying to leave him undisturbed as possible and see what happens. Maybe Phil can try his bird whispering techniques on him and we'll have our very own boat bird. I've been wanting a pet.

Food

Day 6 - Lunch: ham and tomato sandwich. Supper: leftovers.

Day 7 - Breakfast: Raisin toast with banana.

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