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Real Ocean Cruisers face many challenges as they sail the seven seas. This hearty group of sailors go places and see things that the rest of humanity never sees.

As we explore new worlds we ask ourselves important questions like, “Can booby birds smell?”

If you have been unable to sleep at night thinking about the answer to this question, I am about to change your life. Definitive proof exists that some birds can smell.

The olfactory organ varies significantly from one bird species to the next. Some birds have a well developed sense of smell. The best example of this is the New Zealand Kiwi which can smell earthworms under the ground.

In other species, the sense of smell is not well-developed.

Proving that birds have a sense of smell is not easy. You can’t tell a bird to stand on one leg if he smells a particular odor. Raise the right wing if you like the smell, and raise the left wing if you hate the smell.

Testing bird smells requires extreme measures.

A scientist in Antarctica used kites to lift tampons soaked in fish oil high in the air to see if the smell would attract sea birds. Her experiment quickly attracted albatrosses and other seabirds in great numbers proving either that seabirds can smell or that they are fascinated by tampons soaked in fish oil hanging from kites.

Further research in Antarctic waters confirmed that some species of seabirds have a well developed sense of smell.
When krill eat phytoplankton, it releases a gas called DMS. Seabirds pick up a DMS trail and follow it to schools of krill. The Antarctic has DMS plumes over the sea, and seabirds have an odor map in the air that leads them to their food source.

They tested their theory by releasing plumes of DMS gas and control substances into the air from a ship, and the DMS attracted seabirds while a control gas had no positive effect.

Yesterday we as we rounded the northwest corner of our resident volcanic island, we discovered cliffs where booby birds roost.

High up in the rocks were hundreds of boobies standing in piles of bird poo. Fifty feet below in our dingy, the pungent stench of urea was strong in the air, and there was no question as to the integrity of our sense of smell.

The real question was whether booby birds have a sense of smell.

The answer is that boobies have a poor sense of smell.

La Pinta Galapagos Cruises explains it this way:

‘Because blue-footed boobies don’t have a good sense of smell, they resort to their eyesight to locate their nest. Once the adult blue-footed booby finds a proper place on which to “build” (more like draw) its nest, it stands on that spot all day turning on its own axis and pooping as it pivots. The white guano creates an almost perfect circumference that marks the nest’s territory. The future eggs will eventually hatch within the “guano ring,” making it possible for parents to identify their respective “nest” and hatchlings whenever they come back from hunting for food.”

So it appears that the blue-footed boobies are visual creatures, and they don’t depend on their sense of smell to find their nest and identify their young.

Back to the boobies of volcano Pepe.

I don’t think the boobies can smell their own poo. If they could, the smell would drive them crazy. The rocks of volcano Pepe are not nesting places - they are simply places to roost and poop.

When booby birds roost on the rocks and talk to each other, they probably say stuff like. “Nice view. What’s all this white stuff we are standing in? I don’t know. Why do you ask?”

So there you have it. Booby birds lack a well-developed sense of smell.

That’s all I have to say about that.

Dr. Dave

Captain Dave - David J. Abbott M.D.





Exit Only

See what it's like for a family to sail around the world on a small catamaran

Captain Save Our Souls

Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.

Red Sea Blues

Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.

Red Sea Chronicles Trailer

If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 1 - When Flying Fish Attack

Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 2 - Pirate Alley

Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 3 - Aden, Yemen

Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 4- Gate of Sorrows and Sandstorms

After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.

Patreon - Maxing Out

Captain Dave and his family spent eleven years sailing around the world on their Privilege 39 catamaran, Exit Only. During the trip, the crew shot 200 hours of video with professional cameras to show people what it's like to sail on a small boat around the world.

The Red Sea Chronicles is a one hour and twenty-two minute feature film showing their adventures as Exit Only sails through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden and up the Red Sea. The professional footage documents their experiences in Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, and the Suez Canal. It chronicles the rigors of traveling in a remote section of the world rarely visited by cruisers. Exit Only dodges Yemeni pirates, fights a gale and sand storms in the Bab al Mandeb at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The crew explores deserted islands on the western shores of the Red Sea, and learns to check the cruising guides for land mines before venturing ashore.

The Red Sea Chronicles also has outstanding Special Features including an Instructional Video on Storm Management that tells sailors how to deal with storms at sea.

And don't forget the two Music Videos: "The Red Sea Blues", and "Captain - Save Our Souls".

The Red Sea Chronicles is a first class adventure that stokes the sailing dreams of both experienced and wannabe sailors alike.


    Team Maxing Out Sails Around The World On Their 39 Foot Catamaran

    Join Team Maxingout as they sail through Pirate Alley and up the Red Sea


    Give your dream machine a shot in the arm

    See what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before you spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one


    View the storm management video to learn how Captain Dave dealt with storms at sea

    After watching the Red Sea Chronicles you will be able to see yourself sailing on the ocean of your dreams

Red Sea Chronicles

Save A Tree Bookstore

Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.