Elton John

Miss Molly 4
Bob & Peggy Wilkerson/Geoff & Merel Pettifer
Tue 14 Dec 2010 09:59

It was monday late afternoon, about happy hour and we were on board. Geoff was sitting in the cockpit when a loud noise sounded from the rigging - a big Poinggg! A plop half on the bimini and then a crash on the side deck: a seagull had flown into the rigging. There it was, completely dazed, laying down with its neck in an odd backward position. But it was breathing so Geoff turned its head the right way and that looked a lot better. We eased the headsail sheet that was uncomfortably underneath it and that made it move a bit more upright. But still no intention to move. It's left wing looked crook. We decided to let the gull come to while we had dinner and an after dinner walk. We knew we were going to leave in the night, so we had to move it off the boat. Right next door was a boat with nobody on board and with a comfortable looking gull shelter on the aft deck under an upside down dinghy. So Merel put on her sailing gloves to move the gull without getting nipped. The gull decided not to sit down, but stand, facing the wind as gulls do, which we considered as progress. At first a bit wobbly like a sailor who had just reached land, but more and more steady. It moved it's head around a bit, so that was working too. Throughout the evening we kept checking up on the gull and yes, he was still standing. There's a song about that - from Elton John "I'm still standing, yeah, yeah, yeah!" So that was the song that was on our mind when we went to bed and the gull was... still standing.

Merel could keep an eye on the gull through a porthole and even when it started raining he was still standing. We got up at 2 a.m. and the gull had was watching what we were doing while we were untying the boat. All of a sudden it took off but it could not fly long. It was swimming in the harbour and looked like any other gull. So may be it's just a temporary wing problem, we hope. We also hope that it found a way to get out of the water again, but there are plenty of boat ramps in Coff's Harbour so that should not be a problem.

We then moved on in the dark night - motoring in the rain and with light headwinds. The forecast had promised us a Northerly component in the wind but that we did not get to see. Just the usual bucketfuls of rain and then stronger head winds. That went on for the whole 163 miles that we motored to Port Stevens - a lovely place with a narrow entrance between high headlands opening up into a big bay. No time to look at it properly as we arrived on dusk. We had dinner under way so we won't be standing much longer - off to our bunks soon!

Cheers from Geoff & Merel