"Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days
that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to;
while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may
make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway. They stayed long in
that good house, fourteen days at least, and they found it hard to
leave. Bilbo would have gladly stopped there for ever and ever- even
supposing a wish would have taken him right back to his hobbit-hole
without trouble. Yet there is little to tell about their stay.
..His house was perfect, whether you liked food, or sleep, or work, or
story-telling, or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a
pleasant mixture of them all. Evil things did not come into that valley."
– The Hobbit, upon visiting the Last Homely House in the fair elvish
valley of Rivendell, where Elrond lives.
And so it is with me. Such a lovely journey, and so little to say. But
considering the pages I have spent on all things less good thus far, it
seems only right and proper to give the good times some paragraphs too.
Should I write of the soft warm air, and the sparkling glistening ocean,
endless blue with silver stars on every crest? Or the gentle motion of
the boat (when the sails are set right…) carrying us silently on
course at about five knots? The light blue sky scattered with
non-threatening puffs of white clouds, miles away, surely deserves a
mention as it this that sets the heart and mind at ease. Not only are
conditions good now, but a scout in all directions suggests they'll
stay. Unlike last night when heavy, ominous, fronts of black passed
across us followed by winds, waves, and rain that made the boat quite
hard to handle. But today is once again good. So good.
The boat, of course, still rolls and rocks so the schedule remains
gentle and careful. Daytime naps and book-reading interrupted by easily
digested food, a radio sched, and random chat. The movement carries us
up and down, side to side, forwards backwards. When exacerbated nausea
is avoided by enjoying the horizon and ignoring signals from the inner ear.
Our Canadian flag flaps, the wind vane flicks, the water purrs around
us, and the sun's heat encompasses us. This is the Pacific, and the
trade winds, of lore, and I relish every day that it lasts.
A booby lands on our boat (that's a sea bird).
He's looking right at me now. Long white, sharp, beak. Friendly eyes.
Where are his ears hidden in that soft down on his head? I'm so close I
can make out corrugations along his beak, for grabbing fish?, and what
look like nostrils just above.
His down is so soft I want to stroke him. Small brown feathers cover his
back, wings, and neck, and his belly is white. Now he hides his head
completely inside his back, under a wing, and rests.
First he landed on the edge of the solar panels but had comical ability
hanging on, sliding from side to side until he eventually slipped right
off – plop- onto our brown canvas sunshade. The same colour as him. As
birds go, he's reasonably large, like a big duck or a small goose, and
weighty, and was peculiarly ungainly on that loose cloth. He rolled
around there for a while, flattening himself (or herself?) against the
ever moving material but it was clearly not conducive to rest.
Briefly, and foolishly, a perch was next found on the flat face of the
solar panels. Here he had no grip at all and literally sloped right off
the side. I thought he'd have had enough at that point but he stayed
where he landed, on the deck, right next to a window. Which is why I am
now so close I can see individual wing feathers. He's fast asleep.
We're about 125 miles from Suvarow, the closest land that I know of
around here, so maybe this is a lucky pause for him, a chance to
re-energise out on the wide open sea.
Andy has dozed off in the cockpit. He wakes, stretches, and checks out
how our visitor is doing. Almost in synch, the bird raises his head,
shakes his feathers, and also stretches. He walks up to the front of the
boat, checks out the scenery, and settles down again for another sleep.
Do seabirds like he sleep on the wing? Or on the sea? They must do. And
where has he come from? We're going downwind, surely the easiest way to
fly, are we un-doing all his hard work getting here? No, I tell Andy,
I'm sure birds have some kind of inner sense of direction, inner
magnetism. But we're a ferro-cement boat, he retorts, we're screwing
with his homing device. O no. Before, I wanted to know more about fish.
Now I want to know more about birds. Must take more reference books on
the next trip.
The kettle is slowly coming to the boil, even that is slow today. It's a
baking hot day but true to our heritage we still love an afternoon
cuppa. As I said, the days are good. We expect to arrive in Suvarow
sometime tomorrow. No hurry.