2023 Schooner Bowdoin

Fun with birds…

Posted on: July 11, 2023

Day two at sea in the North Atlantic. All remains well aboard the Schooner Bowdoin. The crew have had a great 24 hours of broad reaching, averaging around 6.5kts under full sail. We expect to have fair southeasterly winds until tomorrow, Wednesday at around 1400AT before a weak cold front moves through leaving a wall of high pressure to our west. At this point we will start the engine and wait for the southwesterly to fill in.

Tomorrow afternoon we will be passing by Sable Island, nothing more than a sand spit the crescent shaped island is a infamous one. Yet the island is famous for the wild horses that graze the sand dunes and who have adapted to digging for their fresh water on the island.

With a permit and a scheduled time vessels can visit Sable Island. However the windows of opportunity our slim and dependent on weather and few visitors at one time. There are no socks so beach landings in small craft are required. Unfortunately we will miss a visit to the island this time even after working closely with parks Canada over the past few months we were unable to align a date. Next time!

The crew are doing very well going through their second round of “watch leader” training. With this they learn the responsibility of keeping the safe navigation of Bowdoin, rotating crew through helm, lookout and boat check duty’s on the hour, and the responsibility of keeping the captain abreast of any changes. Per standing orders and as conditions or circumstances change the watch officer is responsible for waking the captain with this information and a possible course of action. For example a fishing vessel- fishing, giving them right of way was going to have a CPA (closest point of arrival) of 2NM in 1hr. I was woken, given the information and I then asked the watch leader in training what course of action should we take to open the CPA? Also suggesting we attempt to hail the vessel on VHF to make passing arrangements. We followed through with the suggested course change to starboard and never reached the vessel on radio. However the vessels passed easily with several miles to spare. This is the type of exchange that happens 24 hours a day no matter the conditions while underway. I just ask not to be woken for dolphins sightings, fairly standard.

Some other fun news aside from many dolphin sightings playing in Bowdoin bow wake was a group of birds. This particular pack of unidentified bird has been a frequent visitor at night in the more southern regions of our voyage. Making a lot of noise and flying back and forth over the quarter deck per usual we had our first hostile (or accidental) encounter. As I was steering my head was knocked forward as one slammed into me. As another swooped at the mates face and a third dive bombed a crew member. Finding it comical yet remaining on guard we tried to identify the birds but could not.
Captain Alex Peacock

St. John, NB