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Tom and Mel... achievable cruising under sail and power.


More Bird Drop Tips
by Tom Neale

We've found that the "Scare Eye" balloons, manufactured by BIRDX , work reasonably well. But it's also been our experience that their tie points will frequently break in winds that are normally encountered around the water, so we keep a spare. At under $10.00 apiece, this isn't impractical. What is impractical is recovering the halyard at the top of the mast unless you've attached it so that it isn't separated when the balloon flies away. Unfortunately we've discovered that after a couple of weeks, local flocks seem to get used to them. The manufacturer makes two colors and recommends changing colors regularly, but we've found that few stores stock both colors of the balloons.

We've also found that the inflatable snake manufactured by Dalen helps, used in conjunction with the balloons. We tie the snake on to keep it from being blown overboard, and remove it when people visit with dogs.

Wands that sweep over your potential landing surfaces also thwart landings. You can buy these already made for just under $35.00 (such as that made by Trima) in retail marine stores. They, in our observation, don't protect as wide an area as the balloons aloft, although smaller power boats with Bimini tops and no masts find these more helpful.

Anything aloft that produces a lot of movement in the winds and that makes a lot of noise helps. If it looks like a menace to the flock (as with the Scare Eye Balloons) they'll continue to help when the wind's not blowing.

Berry eating birds are particularly effective. Avoid, if you can, anchoring or docking near berry trees. How do you know that there are berry trees ashore? Just wait a few hours. You'll know.


For more tips about what to do when you find cockroaches aboard, go to, and follow the prompts to the “Tom Neale’s Cruising for You” section.


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