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Falling Booby

Posted on Wednesday Dec 9, 2009

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The leg from Playas del Coco to Bahia Santa Elena is always exciting during this time of the year. The strong offshore winds blow very hard. The prediction for our rounding was expected to be 10-15 knots, so we expected 20-30 knots against us. Not ideal, but it is the lowest prediction we've seen for days.

About 2 hours into the Golfo de Papagayo we had about 5 knots of E wind. I was hoping we picked the right window. As we were motoring along with part of the main sail up there was a sudden CRASH! I looked up to see a booby on the dodger tumble down through the open companionway hatch and into the boat. I shouted to Sherrell down below, "Help! Help! A Booby just fell inside!" Sherrell looked over and saw a black heap of something at the base of the ladder. It quickly righted itself into the shape of a booby bird and just stared at Sherrell as if to say, "now what do I do?". Remembering hearing about how sharp their large beaks are, she quickly threw a towel over the bird and passed it up to me. I took it up to the bow and released it. It seemed perfectly healthy but you can never tell with birds. It flopped around a bit and clumsily hopped over the boat into the water. It seemed ok, and we hope it does fine. Jordan, on the other hand, was a bit disappointed her new playmate left so quickly. She spent the next hour sniffing around the boat trying to find where we hid it.

The winds remained light until we got almost exactly to the halfway point -- you know the point where you don't really want to turn around. The wind quickly built and of course it switched to the NW directly in front of us. We soldiered on.

The wind continued to build to about 20-25. We began hitting large waves that would slow our progress to about 2 knots (less than walking speed) and we started to dip the bow below the waves and take on lots of salt water and spray.

Determined to make headway we kept fighting the waves and wind...for hours. Each turn around a point of land only found the wind to turn directly against us again. Progress was slow, uncomfortable and wet. While certainly not the nightmare conditions we endured 2 years ago, it was still hard earned mileage.

We are now anchored in the magical anchorage of Bahia Santa Elena, where it is calm, where we can sleep and where we were almost exactly 2 years ago to the day.

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