There are many things about the gale I'll never forget, but at the top of the list is the fulmar flying backward. It was like something out of The Wizard of Oz. Ocean Watch, our 64-foot cutter, was in the third day of a 35- to 45-knot blow in the Labrador Sea, bound south for Newfoundland, and the gorgeous seabirds had been our companions for several days. Strong, powerful flyers, the fulmars had enthralled us with their airborne prowess and antics; at one point, one had actually flown through our foretriangle, seemingly for the sheer fun of it. But in the staunch northerly breeze, this particular fulmar, beating to windward, couldn't gain an inch to weather and was actually losing ground. The image is seared in my memory.