Friday, 26 April 2013

Voyage of the Acolyte - Steve Hacket Part III

Spooky or what? Last night I decided to watch the latest Quentin Tarantino offering ‘Django Unchained’ a blood-thirsty little ditty based on the US slave trade but nonetheless extremely watchable (strongly recommended if not squeamish). Great acting punched home the brutal story-line, magically filmed as only QT knows how and the music, well just to put it in prospective, I couldn’t have chosen better – ah-umm! Richie Havens' classic blues “Motherless Child” was well place and brought back a few personal memories of seeing him a number of times back in the 60’s. The ‘spook’ appeared next morning when the ship’s own newspaper dropped through my cabin door announcing that the man had died! Having opened the Woodstock Festival of 1969 he gained great notoriety for this track and the anti Vietnam War blues “Freedom”, having seen him previous to that and while not the greatest bluesman in the world, to watch him stamp that beer bottle top into the sole of his sandal then keep it clicking all through the set was something to behold. R.I.P.R.H.     
Much to the delight of most, if not all, passengers except for myself the Captain had arranged an extension of  stay in port. This didn't suit me as I was champing at the bit to get back outside the breakwater and amongst the abundance of seabirds. There was little more than an hour of daylight by the time the mooring ropes were slipped but time to log many 'hundreds' of Cory's Shearwaters passing the bow. By taking a few 'timed counts' the final total was estimated at INXS of 'TEN THOUSAND' if indeed they were not clearing the bow an flying round in circles - I did check that and it seemed they were not! What a sight, so hands up anyone slightly envious!
Monday 22nd April 2013 – Noon Position Lat 37° 56’ .96” North Long 033° 41’ .00” West
Weather conditions had deteriorated a little further by daybreak keeping most passengers below decks, with periods when it seemed more like the Marie Celeste rather than a Cruise Ship, but this ‘old salt’ has probably seen more ripples in his tot glass. Yeah, pull up a bollard an’ I’ll sing ya’ a sea shanty.
 A threatening looking early morning sky.
And we Jolly Sailor Boys were standing up aloft
While the Land-Loves were lying down below, below, below.
The only changes on the Seabird front were there appeared to be more of them and unlike all other days, when every one seen was flying purposefully west, there was a lot of ‘milling around’ today. This likely made the count less accurate but with only 3 species recorded it won’t upset the ‘balance of payments’. 
While CORY’S SHEARWATER was the most numerous once again, it was after just a dozen had passed through that a party of c6 beautifully marked and pristine
passed by.
As the Cory’s count reached 66, the first of 3 small ‘feeding frenzies’ was spotted rushing the total to 98 in quick time and now they were also taking to sitting on the sea. ‘Rafts’ of no more than 10 birds were seen, but with a combination of ‘slow hand’ and ‘sea state’ none of these were recorded.
 With so many buoys so symmetrically laid it is thought these could be from deep-sea long-line fishing vessels?
At 11:45 one individual was noted with a more pronounced white rump and turning showed a less clean belly and under-wing, this was surely the first of what would be c4 GREAT SHEARWATER. By noon and the ‘grocery gong’, Cory’s had reached c154, the permitted 10 minutes was spent sprinting to the galley to collect, this time, a mug full of roast lamb before returning to ‘the hide’ feeling the 2 x ‘ton’ was on! By ‘close of play’ c309 had been logged and if nothing else such numbers certainly ‘gets your eye in’, so doubtless I’ll be recording them in similar numbers passing The Bill. We make landfall early tomorrow morning so – all ashore who’s going ashore!

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