Masked Boobies, Part 2

From this angle, you can see why they’re so easy to identify. They’re the largest of the boobies, and have a white body, with elegant, crisp black tail and flight feathers, and a decorative black mask about their eyes. They’re graceful in flight, usually staying about 10 meters above the water, sometimes circling the boat, sometimes resting in the swell, sometimes diving to fish like pelicans. This morning, we think we spotted two juveniles souring through the squalls. They’re full sized, with muddled brown wings and a white nape.

Boobies are unique in being so distinctive as pelagic birds. Our new reference is quick to remind us how hard it is, even for the most expert birders (definitely not us) to make identifications in the open waters. The most common species are petrels and shearwaters, and the two are just about identical, and distinctions between subspecies are but a few shades of grey. A pursuit to pass the time, I suppose, and an endeavor that would make our friends at the radar tower proud.

In other news, we’ve winds are filling in from the south and southeast intermittently. We continue to alternate between using our sails and the iron jib. We’ve been fighting seas from the south, as well as a one knot current that has been pushing us backward, making for a slightly choppy ride. On the bright side, according to our weather predictions, the trade winds should be strong and steady just south of the equator. I’ll believe it when we get there.

And a few quick notes about the website:

1) We can update via email, but we don’t have the capability to actually view the website (or any website) itself, nor do we have the ability to edit. Typos and malapropisms drive me insane, so you have my apologies for all errors; I’m sure they’re mounting as I often type and post during my shift at watch in the night.

2) Apparently, when viewing our location, our position is associated with a series of numbers. These numbers are meaningless for our purposes, and represent a location tracking system used by Farkwar. Farkwar is the service that updates our location on the website; it’s free, so we’re forgiving of idiosyncrasies.