LEAVING SALINAS, AND AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR
POSTION N17:58.57 W065.59.62
PUERTO PATILLAS ANCHORAGE, SOUTH COAST OF PUERTO RICO
Tuesday, 07 April 2015. LEAVING SALINAS, AND AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR
Woke at 0330 and decided to leave right now! Time to wake my new crew.
The wind was down, the seas we’d soon find out, and the moon shone bright as we motored slowly past sleeping boats and out of the southern entrance, bound for PUERTO PATILLAS – an overnight anchorage behind a reef some 15nm to the east on the way to the East coast of PR. Once clear of the reefs the SE’ly swell was sufficient to bring on ‘Le Mal de Mar’, as Stu liked to call it, with newbie crew David, and Stu declined breakfast but kept his reputation intact. The Skipper, of course, and no doubt much to the crew’s annoyance, enjoyed porridge and a cheesy eggy wrap, the greedy tyke.
As we approached the anchorage in the lee of the headland PUNTA VIENTO, there was some discussion on whether to press on another four hours for PALMAS DEL MAR round the corner a bit. With winds now up to 25kts and David still the wrong colour, it was a NO.
Unfortunately for him he’d just taken a seasick pill minutes before the abort decision, so that was him in his bunk for the rest of the day. They are lethal! Trades Description Act should have a go really, they're just sleeping pills.
1600: Just chatting to Stu when there was a ‘thud’ from up on deck. Leaping up, we found a large brown seabird with a fearsome beak squatting up on the bow looking rather sorry for himself, having evacuated his bowels all over my nice shiny new blue dinghy painter and deck. Clearly he’d come a cropper somehow, and it looked like he might have caught a shroud as there might be some feather damage to his starboard wing root. We left the poor creature to recover in his own time. Later on I found it back on its big webbed feet, and later still perched on the windlass in the bow, and every time we did a viewing our large feathered friend would turn away, raise his tail feathers and squit even more yellow slime over the deck. Charming.
After trawling through the Birds of the World book, Stu thought it must be an immature Booby. It became clear that ‘Beaky’ could do some damage with that big crab cracking beak of his, if it came to physical interdiction.
Then Stu posed the thorny question of ‘what are we going to do with it at 3am if its still there?!’ Fair call. Raising anchors with him there would be difficult. Not fancying a severe pecking, we decided to relaunch him now, before it got dark, as even if he couldn’t fly, he could float and paddle. So, with some gentle shoving from behind the safety of a rolled sleeping bag, Beaky was soon afloat. Minutes later it relaunched, flew a long lazy circuit perfectly then to our astonishment landed back on board….not on Pinball, but that nice shiny new French cruiser anchored next to us. This bird was NOT injured! Charlatan.
‘All hands to scrub the foredeck!’
PIC: PREPARING PINBALL IN THE MANGROVE ANCHORAGE OF SALINAS