Thursday, June 12, 2014

We live in a PBS nature show

Swallows coming home to roost--in our boom.
Granted, it's not one of the thrilling ones like jumping great white sharks. It's more the kind of nature documentary you'd watch when you're looking for something to help you nod off. But when you live on the water, you can't help but notice the animals all around you. On the overnight passage from BVI to St. Martin, one flying fish jumped on top of our cabin and another one flew up about 18 feet, hit our mainsail, and landed on Matt's head.

There are the remoras that sometimes take residence under our boat and dart out when we throw food scraps overboard. Mark had fun by sticking his finger in the water and quickly pulling it out again as the remoras came and investigated. We were pretty sure that remoras don't have sharp teeth and this was confirmed when Mark didn't pull his finger out fast enough and got nipped by one.
There are also tons of pelicans that dive bomb for fish all around us. They make a super-loud splash and it's very disconcerting if you're not used to it (like us). The seagulls then swoop down to see if they can steal some leftovers, sometimes landing right on the pelican's head. The pelicans are pretty cool about it and it's almost enough reason to forgive them for the jumbo sized poops they leave on the boat. Almost.
Birds on a wire.
As we neared the mooring field near Pinneys Beach in Nevis under sail, one of these swallows started bumping into the black dots on our jib sail . We couldn't tell if it was trying to attack the dots or mate with them. The swallows continued to circle the boat even after we rolled up the sails.  After we picked up our mooring ball (you can't anchor here), the swallows moved in and started building a nest in the boom.
At first we let them do their thing but decided that since we weren't leaving for 2 days, it would be a very rude awakening when we moved the boat and they would have wasted a lot of effort. So Matt waited until a bird flew out and then stuck a shoe in the hole at the end of the boom, effectively blocking access to their new home. The birds became very angry and we thought they were just upset that we had messed up their new nesting area. Birds kept coming by and squawking at us.
A little blurry, but I think the emotion comes through.
The next day, Conrad noticed a bird head sticking out of the hole on the boom that was on the opposite side of where the nest was being constructed. Apparently a bird had gotten trapped in the boom. Matt took out his shoe to free the bird from the boat detention facility. After that the swallows stayed away from our boat.

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