Thursday, 25 April 2013

Voyage of the Acolyte - Steve Hackett Part II

Saturday 20th April 2013 – Noon Position Lat 36° 57’ 00” North Long 046° 28’ 00” West

The weather continues ‘fair’ as we entered the 3rd day of passage but with the temperature now sub-70°F, quite a culture shock after 5 months much higher than that! Grabbing that essential first coffee of the day and wandering aft there were the last vestiges of a large Whale heading west, which was the only Cetacean of the day. The first Cory’s showed just moments later and within 10 minutes the number had risen to c13, good reason then for a ‘dedicated day count’! Reaching the favoured viewing position, Stbd/midships, a Wilson’s Petrel closed the ship to a distance where the feet could be clearly seen projecting beyond the tail, likely the same as all other ‘small’ Petrels thus far? The count continued but by the time Cory’s had reached Heinz’s Beanz’s (57 in sea-going Tombola terminology) and Wilson’s c3 the whole thing ‘dried up’ with not a bird of any description for well over an hour.

What looked like a GREAT SKUA (above) on jizz alone started the ball rolling again and by the time the Lunch Gong was heard totals stood at Cory’s – 113, Wilson’s – 9, Tern Sp 1, Phalarope Sp (thought Grey) 2 plus the Bonxie. Necessities of Nature are all saved for this 10 minutes intermission to maximize time ‘in the field’ so I was soon back in the watchtower with my mug full of Haddock Goujons lightly seasoned with Tartare Sauce.
A trickle of birds continued until mid-afternoon when a mini-feeding frenzy (above) was noted and Cory’s numbers leapt from 119 to 141, with a medium size Turtle being seen in the same area. At ‘stumps’, the day totals remained the same except for Cory’s reaching 189 and Wilson’s 17 not a bad ‘day out’!   

Sunday 21st April 2013 – Noon Position Lat 37° 47’ 40” North Long 0540° 07’ 83” West
The weather had deteriorated overnight, as predicted, with the wind remaining in the east but now showing Force 7 on the Beaufort Scale, swell reaching 7 meters plus under a fully covered and threatening sky. To my mind we were sitting quite comfortably in the water, but many onboard were now suffering. However, I think not as much as those on the first sighting of the morning, the ungainly looking

Now you see her,
 now you don't!
Spanish Fishing Vessel

 There was certainly a storm brewing.
 Yet another 'interesting' photo of a 'Pile of Dunnage'
 This looked like some sort of Transponder?
 This bird looked decidedly 'black-capped'
 couldn't see the rump so no detail of white rump
 could it have been a Great Shearwater????
 Trans-Atlantic Flight