It has been a quiet week. Tainui is the only yacht in the bay and I have had few interruptions to the business of boat maintenance, repair and drug abuse. With a constant offshore (southerly) breeze and a usually gentle surge it is a comfortable place. In 25 feet of crystal clear water over sand our anchorage is secure.
Alone apart from Mother Nature, that is. Curious sea lions visit the boat hourly, looking for a way to get up on deck. They are very good at it but our freeboard and lifelines are just too much for them. Mornings and evenings are their favorite visiting hours. This morning I watched entranced for an hour, as two youngsters played hide and seek and chasings around our keel.
Occasionally turtles and small rays dawdle past, providing more impetus for me to haul out our so far unused GoPro camera to go swimming with them.
Frigate birds, pelicans, herons, boobies (blue footed and nazca) abound.The plunge diving nazca boobies, very similar to Australasian gannets, are spectacular to watch. Their chicks are known for their nest behaviour – obligate siblicide. The first hatched ruthlessly kicks the younger, weaker bird from the nest, thus doubling its own chance of survival. I am told that adult nazca boobies who fail to breeed may attach to other nestlings with whom they preen and even attempt to copulate.
There are iguanas on the rocky shore here, but they are not the marine variety.
Storm petrels are everywhere, sometimes in rafts of 50 or more. Skittering over the water with dangling legs, they are birds I am used to seeing in mid-ocean, often in bad weather many thousands of miles from land and usually solitary. I have never come across congregations like this before, inshore and in such calm conditions.
All the wildlife seem unfazed by humans. Going ashore yesterday I had to bypass a dozen dozing sea lions on the jetty, step over an indolent iguana and nudge a heron out of the way. At the cafe, Darwin finches and yellow warblers visited the table and hoe into my breakfast crumbs.
I am sorely missing Rosie, who has reluctantly flown home to her editing suite work. The boat is empty without her. Old cruising mates John and Anna (see “Tainui crew”) arrive in a week and we will spend a fortnight exploring Santa Cruz and Isla Isabella together. Then Sonja arrives for the long haul down to the Marquesas.
Until then, it is just me and Mother Nature in all her glory. I don’t like the company on board but the location is quite unforgettable. This really is a remarkable place and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.