Wildlife Report…..

Dear F&F,
Galapagos to Marquesas Passage

Flying Fish
Scott describes flying fish as the \”flies of the sea\”. That seems appropriate. The first few days we had them non-stop. We still see them frequently. Out here they are about 6-8 inches long with a 6-8 inch wing span. A whole flock will rise up out of the ocean & flap away. Evolution before our eyes. Some unfortunately flap right onboard. We try to throw them back while they are still alive. We miss the ones on the bows at night. In the morning we walk the decks to toss over the stiff bodies. Mike said that on super fast race boats the crew need to wear helmets since a flying fish in the face could put your eye out! Most of them fly away from us & don\’t land onboard so are fun to watch. Mostly bones & wings, but something must eat them since they are so plentiful; surely they are near the bottom of the fish food chain. They smell awful!

We had a lot of squid jumping onboard early in the trip. They are most active at night & a little trickier to get a hold of while flopping around. They are squishy and spray black ink. We have some stains on the teak that I hope will come out with Oxyclean or bleach. Scott got \”squidded\” in the shoulder on his watch. I don\’t handle any creatures without my bilge gloves on. If you don\’t get them off the boat it smells like fish emulsion fertilizer in the morning. I\’ve stepped on one in the dark (shoes on thank God!) and it took me the longest time to figure out where the heck the stink was coming from. I was tramping squid guts around the deck. Oh joy.

We haven\’t seen many the past few days. We are really, really far away from land in both directions. At our farthest we will were 1500 miles from the nearest piece of land. Early on we had booby birds swirling around us. Also occasional smaller tern type birds. When the sea is calm, some really small birds are seen just sitting on the water until we come up & disturb them. Then they fly away & re-settle again beyond our path.

Mike had one full daytime watch surrounded by whales in every direction. Scott & I came up to enjoy the spectacle for a few hours. Amazing. I had never seen so many spouts at one time. Fantastic. Rare distant spouts since then, but not a whole school. Either Minke or Humpbacks, we weren\’t sure. Our new friends sailing a bit behind us, David and Mary on \”Giselle\” said they saw several Minke Whales as well.

Mike reported a night shift with dolphin companions. It was when we were motoring. We use only one engine to conserve fuel, so don\’t go fast enough to be fun for dolphins very long. I am surprised we have not seen more out here.

Mola Mola (Ocean Sun Fish)
Early in the trip, we were all 3 out in the cockpit when we heard a thump then saw a fairly large fin off the right rear corner of the boat. Mike recognized it as a Mola Mola. Scott & I have seen them diving. They are slow movers & often asleep. I hope we didn\’t hurt it. Neither the starboard daggerboard (which lifted a few feet) or the Mola Mola seemed worse for wear.

Baby Whale Shark
I was inside, but the guys said the shape was unmistakable. A whitish gray and about 10 feet long.

I think that about covers it. There are no bugs. The temperature has been lovely: mid 80s day, upper 70s night. We have had a brief drizzle as we sail under a cloud, but otherwise no significant rain. The full moon has been great company on the night watches. During the day, the sky is baby blue with soft puffy clouds. Like wallpaper you\’d put in a nursery. We are literally sailing into the sunset as our course is almost due west.

Scott & Cindy