Day 89 Good news, Bad news 29/11/13

Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 10.58.55 PMPosition: 41.17 S, 119.52 E 

First the good news…

By the time you read this I will be officially 1/3 the way around! 

The fog has lifted to reveal a nice blue sky. Things are drying things out and I’m making power. I removed the staysail and did some sewing to a small tear as well as tighten the stay and halyard. Will work on main sail this afternoon and chase a few leaks with the caulking gun.  A whale surfaced within 20 feet of the transom early this morning. I didn’t get a close look but he or she must have been traveling at a good speed.  The weather for the next few days will be difficult but I hope to make the most of it and pass under Cape Leeuwin early next week.

And now the sad news ..

I’ve just come back from being on deck and taking the main down. The only sail up is a very small triangle of staysail. We’ve been in gale force conditions since this morning and this afternoon it’s blowing 35 knots with waves over 4 metres. During this time, the weight from my fishing line broke loose and the gear floated to the surface exposing the lure with its hook. I was devastated to find a beautiful Buller Albatross had become snagged by the hook and drown. It’s difficult to explain how upset I am. It’s breaking my heart. He was such a beautiful bird and it was so hard to look into his eyes as I slipped him over the side. I feel very sorry for what happened.

This morning as I lay in my bunk wrestling with the death of that innocent Albatross, I realize that we all have a responsibility to protect creatures from accidents like that. I probably will not be fishing any more on this voyage. There’s always a remote chance that situation could happen again. I truly believe we must strive to be mindful of our impact on the environment and all those in it.

I won’t soon forget holding the body of that beautiful creature and realizing that this could have been avoided if I had been more diligent and thoughtful of the perils of that fishing line. This morning as I look out on the birds that still innocently fly around me, I feel very sorry for what happened and will be more careful in the future. Hopefully those who read this will realize how important it is to look out for the wildlife around us, and protect it vigorously. Today I will move on.  And I will now appreciate even more the relationship and responsibility I have to all those amazing creatures that enrich my life every day just by being there. 

Course: Becalmed Speed Becalmed Wind Becalmed Waves 1.5 -2 meters Cloud 75% Temp OS 16 C Baro 998 Miles in last 24 hrs: 72 nm Volts 13.96


  1. A lovely bit of writing Glenn. I went out kayaking to D’Arcy Island yesterday. Rainy, grey and some lumpy seas. Yet the merest fraction of your daily experience. I love how frank you are with the emotional journey and well as descriptive of the physical one. Your courage, fortitude and honesty are inspiring.

  2. steve sonneveld says

    beware the rhyme of the ancient mariner

    accidents happen -rather the bird than you caught up in lines!
    Reminds me of a freak event sailing solo across Tasman. I went up to put a further reef in main and put tack in horn at gooseneck. the loosed jib sheets flogging around both wrapped around my neck tightly and dragged me from mast. I couldn’t breath due to pressure on larynx. felt like an eternity but able to disentangle the lines. sat on deck and had a good cry. Freak events – my warped brain was thinking i would be found hanging from the jib – doing a michael hutchence.

    have a good day to the seamstress.

  3. Alan Campbell says

    Dear Glenn – don’t punish yourself about the albatross. Yes it is tragic but you did not cause it carelessly nor intentionally. And for a Zen moment, the beautiful bird knows its risks too and it is all part of the Circle. We all have been party to such events, it is just that you got so see it first hand while the rest of us are insulated by distance and packaging. Move forward and know that indeed all of us who read your poignant notes will indeed be that much more careful on our own journeys.

  4. Charlotte Gann says

    Kind thoughts precede kind deeds, Glenn. You are fine with the universe and it is fine with you.

    We appreciate you thinking of us landlocked souls, sharing your life so remotely. We are there with you, in spirit.

  5. I understand your pain in that situation. In 1975 when sailing home (Victoria) from England I too would trail a fishing line while sailing. We were fortunate to hook a few bonitos which are certainly a very fine fish. However one day we were shocked to see an Albatross trying to fly out of the water behind the boat and immediately recognized we had hooked it. Because it was fully alive and very energetic we decided to slowly pull it in toward the boat and then decide if there was anything we could do to free it. Getting it to the boat was not overly difficult, we were very cautious how fast we pulled it in and how it was positioned in the water, but then the interesting part began. We decided that I would get hold of the body of the bird and Andy would hold onto the head or beak. We did this together when it was still in the water, Kentering had just two feet of freeboard, so the bird was not able to be quite as flexible. Then we carefully lifted it into the cockpit and while both were holding her(?) Andy carefully started to work the hook out of her mouth. She was fortunate because it had connected in such a way as to do very little damage and so as he got the hook out he said “now let go”! The problem was that I was getting ready for a new plan to release the Albatross whereas Andy was getting ready to do a quick release and more important the Albatross could feel the possibility of freedom. One of us was very quick off the mark, one of us was a bit slower but had been holding the head so was able to get out of her reach very quickly; but one of us was none of the above so still has a small but memorable scar on his wrist to remind myself of that day.
    Relaying the story is to hopefully allow you to acknowledge that mistakes happen and the results vary. I shared your feelings, but in a smaller way due to the outcome, and also stopped fishing from then on. I think living our lives with compassion is the most we can strive for.

    Mike Fibiger-Crossman

  6. Jody Banister says

    I have been meaning to write to you again to say what a beautiful writer you are. So eloquent. Your prose is so descriptive. I feel as though I am literally there on that sailboat breathing in the same air, seeing what you are seeing and feeling what you are feeling.
    And as such, tears came to my eyes reading about the precious albatross and imagining what you felt. My heart breaks for you. Ack, here come the tears again!
    I hope you know every morning I am so excited to see your email come in and read about your journey. It is really fascinating stuff and I don’t know how you do it. You are a wonder! There are many folks no doubt living vicariously through your experience and are with you every ‘step’ of the way. Stay safe, and big virtual hug from Montreal!
    (Hi MaryLou! :)
    Jody Banister xo

  7. Glenn – please believe me when I say that God is with you, and the albatross.

  8. Jack Sherman says

    Congratulations on getting 1/3 way round, Glen. Really appreciate your comments on the death of the albatross, very sensitive. Had to stop hunting a few years back, for just the sentiments you wrote about. Safe journey for next 2/3.

  9. Dear Glenn,
    That does sound so sad, and I don’t really know how to avoid it. I have heard of seagulls going after
    a fishing lure, and always worried when we were fishing. But I remember being very sad catching a
    dorado ( mahi mahi ) and watching its beautiful colour disappear as it died, and crying. Just fish when you can keep an eye on the hook, I guess. But you have to survive, too. By the way, we floated chunks of raw tuna ( that we had caught ) out on paper plates to the Albatross and they would gather around the plates to eat like they were having a dinner party! Quite a sight! Of course, you need calmer conditions than you have. Anyway, say a little prayer for the Albatross and you will be absolved. You are so thoughtful and kind-hearted, it’s lovely. Miss you!

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