At sea. Volvo Ocean Race: ABN AMRO TWO crew enjoys the wild life despite the boat position Print E-mail
Tuesday, 11 April 2006
Luke Molloy:


This past week there has been an abundance of activity both on board and surrounding the "street fighter". Despite our current situation at the back of the fleet, we are as always fighting on at 100 percent and I think we are sailing the boat better than ever before. If only we had been a little luckier at the right time on day three things would be a little different. Life goes on and there is still a long way to go and some tricky weather to negotiate before we are tasting the spare ribs in Baltimore.

Aside from the daily antics of sail changing, showering on the bow and eating, there has been some notable appearances from some of our sea friends. It all started about five days ago when we were joined by a bird known as a ganet. This bird was amazing, his sleek lines gliding swiftly through the air, making our boat seem like it was standing still. His eager eyes focused on the surrounding water, noting any strange sign of movement under the surface of the sea. When he has sighted his prey, his wings arch upwards, thrusting his body into a mid air stall, then tuck back against his body as he makes a rocket like re-entry straight into the water. Great to watch but I was soon fed up with this random behaviour after trying time and time again to catch this on film!. The next bird sighting was later that night when we were stalked for the best part of an hour by a little brown bird (believed on board to be a Tit, or perhaps a brown breasted Boobie) trying to land on our mast and hitch a free ride. This was made even harder for the little fella with the addition of the flow of the mainsail, obstruction from our running rigging and constant lampings with our spot light and bad bird noises from Simeon.

Moby dick or sperm whale was the next wild creature to pass our side, almost colliding with our keel. We caught this one on film along with about six of his friends within 20 minutes of each other. Great joy was felt on board to know that we were not alone even though our competitors had left us in their wake. A small school of dolphins briefly swept past next, leaping out of our stern wake and enjoying the afternoon sunlight. they didn't hang around for long and soon we were alone again.

Last night was the perfect opportunity to finish my race long observations on the flying fish, or "winged warrior of the sea" as I have named them. There are two main types of this fearless fish. The first to note and the more commonly sighted is the "startled speedster" who accelerates rapidly with a quick flip of the tail then launches into the air with wings spread, flying low and under the radar with a pace that would make Carl Lewis envious.

The second and less common but far more skilled is the "kamikaze warrior" who possesses an action similar to the startled speedster but has adapted the ability to fly much higher into the air, some reports suggest upwards of four meters. This warrior is only seen at night and is willing to put everything on the line for one chance to nail the skipper in the face and send our Volvo 70 careering off uncontrolled into the darkness. Very few of these Kamikaze warriors return to the sea alive, most meeting their end with a miss guided attempt into the mainsail, boom or obstructing crew member. All is not lost though for this battler who leaves his foul stench behind as a reminder of the attack.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 April 2006 )
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