Date: 11 Jun 2018 15:53:21
Title: Above and below.

A the end of each rowing shift I say "thank you ALBA " and "thank you ocean". I greet any wildlife that I see around me and ask how they are and where they are going. It might seem a bit odd but I see all these things, animate and inanimate, as my companions out here. Frank the Ewok (my inanimate, long suffering travel buddy and good luck charm) puts up with all my mutterings and complaining in the cabin. He is used to it. When the sun goes down I thank it for it's company and greet the moon to see me through the night. I am actually scared of the dark, the result of watching 'An American Werewolf In London" at far too young an age, so the moon and the stars make me feel like I am not on my own.

I've actually had quite a few travel companions on this journey so far. There has been a lot of wildlife and it's always exciting to spot something out of the corner of my eye and try and figure out what it is. When I first left Cobb's Marina and made my way out into Chesapeake Bay, I watched pelicans fishing and only then realised that they dived into the water in a similar way to gannets. I always thought they were just gulpers!
For the first week or so I saw quite a few turtles but never close enough to get a decent photo. I would initially see a glint of light as they raised their head above the water and then make out the shell breaking the surface. I think it was Green Turtles that I mainly saw (green and mustard yellow colouring) but I'm sure  I also saw a large Leatherback Turtle too (distinct ridges on it's shell. Dolphins and small whales have been regular visitors but I can never tell what is a big dolphin or a small whale?! Sometimes you can hear their clicks and squeals through the wall of the cabin. They swim around the boat on their sides to peer up at me smiling down at them, I always find it quite comforting to have them around, even for a short time.
The only big whale that I have glimpsed so far was the Sperm Whale that cruised slowly by my boat the day I was sitting on deck with my damaged rudder. Great rasping breaths announced it's arrival and, although I could only see it's back breaking the surface, it's size and presence was impressive. I did see as small shark around the stern of the boat one day but have seen none since...though that doesn't mean that they haven't seen me!
Yesterday, I had just finished chatting on the VHF radio with the cargo vessel HOEGH MAPUTO (they were a bit puzzled by the sight of my boat and were asking if I was OK) when a tuna fish jumped out of the water. I saw a few of them over the course of the afternoon and they must have been hunting for fish.
One of the weirdest sights out here has to be the Portuguese Man-O-War jellyfish. I have been seeing them just about every day for the past fortnight and they are still a source of curiosity for me. They are quite small but have this crest which is an inflated membrane and that allows them to sail the ocean. They are also have a beautiful aquamarine colour that really stands out on the sunny days.
Another colourful creature is the Dorado and I now have a few of them escorting the boat. You can see their blue and green colours quite clearly from above and they look quite big. There are also some smaller fish taking refuge under the boat and they devour any scraps when I rinse out my food flask.
Above the waves, there are various seabirds that glide and swoop across my ponderous wake. One of my favourites is a small petrel (I think) that seems to live on the wing. It is a brownish colour wih a V-shaped white band across it's back. I also see a seabird that reminds me of an albatross, but I thought they were only found in the southern hemisphere? It's a dusky brown colour and may well be a Skua? They glide really close to the surface and congregate quickly whenever one of them spots a shoal of fish. I've also seen terns and flying fish (yes,I know!). Of course, my most memorable encounter was with the wee warbler bird which I named Gloria Hunniford. I miss it.

I am currently on my sea anchor anchor again so my apologies if this blog entry is a bit dry. I'm bored and killing time!



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