Living and working on a boat for the past year and eight months has gifted me with a keen sense of hearing. At first everything sounded foreign to me. Over time I've learned what causes each sound, what sounds can be stifled, and what sounds I'll have to live with. The sound of a dinghy banging against a fiberglass boat can be stopped by rearranging fenders or adjusting the painter. The sound of a line slapping against a mast can be muted by tightening the slack in the line. The vibrating hum that travels down the mast into the cabin can be lulled by adjusting the boom. The whiny cry of the baby seagull can be quieted by throwing pennies at him. (Never throw food or you'll attract an even noisier crowd of gulls!) I've spent countless hours listening and adjusting and readjusting... even getting up out of bed in the middle of the night in order to create some peace. It's been quite a learning curve, really. But I'm to the point now where I can tell pretty quickly what is normal and what is not.
This morning, as I sat here working, I heard a new sound... that of a bird I didn't recognize. I listened for a few minutes before my curiosity got the best of me and I had to get up to see just who this mystery bird was. Once I got outside, it took me a few more minutes to find his hiding spot atop our neighbor's mast, and then it occurred to me that this is actually the second time I've heard this sound; the last time was at the boatyard when we did the haul out.