Tuesday, October 23 , 2018, 7:57 am | Fog/Mist 54º


Captain’s Log: When Gales Blow, Seagulls Party

Channelling 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull'

Seagulls likely anticipating where their next meal is coming from.
Seagulls likely anticipating where their next meal is coming from. (Capt. David Bacon)

We had some wind this week. I was out on the water Thursday when the winds came up to gale force. There were whitecaps stacked up all the way to the beach. It was a black & blue trip, but we caught fish.

While out on the water, a friend texted me and wrote: “The wind is blowing awful hard and the seagulls are acting funny. I’ve seen them fly around and wheel and dive on fish, but there is a whole big bunch of gulls wheeling and circling up high in the air. What are they doing?”

I broke into a wide smile and answered (with lots of typos because the boat was rocking like crazy):

“They are partying, pure and simple. With winds like this they don’t have to work to stay in the air. The wind provides the lift and they are having a blast maneuvering and showing off ... partly to themselves and partly to other seagulls.”

This put me in mind of when I was a kid reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I was a kid crazy about fishing and hunting, and I loved to be at or on the ocean. Come to think of it, I haven’t really changed much in that regard.

I knew seagulls pretty well and knew all too well that they would share my lunch without permission if I wasn’t watchful and even a bit defensive at times.

Mostly seagulls are all about eating and that movie was right on when it portrayed seagulls as having a one-word vocabulary — “Mine!”

Seagulls are scrappers and will beat the snot out of each other, but it is almost always over food or being in the best position to get to anticipated food. It is rare to find one like Jonathan Livingston Seagull that just wants to enjoy flight.

When strong winds howl, gulls enjoy a rare treat in terms of opportunity for fun flight and it does my heart good to see them put all their hunger and aggression aside and spend some time just enjoying flight when Ma Mature is doing most of the work by blowing a gale.

It makes me smile and enjoy the show.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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