Looking Forward to Pelagic Frustrations

February 2, 2013


We have a Canal Transit date of February 13.  I have more than the usual pre-voyage jitters because we have been tied to a dock for so long.  It's like we are just beginning our journey; but worse, because I know what I'm in for.  Some of my high anxiety is being diverted by studying what birds I might see when we go off shore.

While we were in the States last time, I ordered, Steve Howell's, Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-petrels of North America and his and Sophie Webb's, A Guide To The Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America.

So, in between our Peregrine 'to-do' lists, provisioning lists, lists of requirements for immigration, customs, cruising permits, crew lists and copies out the gazoo of every paper needed to entry and exit countries, I have worked on a Pelagic list. I've got the species list for Inshore California Current, Offshore Cal. Current, Inshore Tropical Pacific and Offshore Tropical Pacific. I need to go over the list again and check the dates for when each species is likely to be where I am. The list should shorten.  Once again, just as I get familiar with birds in an area, it's time to leave and put myself in a new zone.

I know I'm going to have a hard time getting IDs and I hope I can ID at least half of what I see. I haven't studied the identification points of the species I might see in depth yet, but after a cursory look, I thought they all looked alike! Also, a sailboat is not like birding on vessels of the commercial pelagic trip type or cruise ships, sailboats jump and twitch and sails get in the way of views. Many times, I have lost birds before I could even get them in my binoculars.  I wish I knew what I know now when we started this little sailing trip around the world. I didn't pay much attention to pelagics until we crossed the Atlantic and I have lost a good opportunity. I will try to make up for it on this last leg.  I will note GPS points and try to get photos.

I'm nervous and excited about being a Peregrinator again.  Hopefully, I will be so focused on the birds I will be traveling with, I won't spend as much time feeding the sea gods as I usually do.

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