“flot flot flot… flot flot flot…”
I was trying to get some sleep before my watch when I heard it. Damn, another flying fish flew in the hatch, I thought. I’ll just get it when I get up. I promptly rolled over and went to sleep.
My alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. and I dressed for watch. Just before going up, I went to the head (toilet) in my room to brush my teeth.
“Oh!” I cried, as I turned on the light. A pigeon-sized dark-grey bird sat on the floor looking up at me. I went outside and brought Mori San, who was just going off watch, in to see. He must be one of the little dark birds we had seen flitting over the waves almost our entire 4,000 nautical mile passage.
I say he because everyone on the boat was convinced that any bird visiting the girl’s cabin had to be male. I pointedly ignored Zeus comments.
I had wondered how on earth these birds managed to make it so terribly far from land without rest. We were thousands of miles away from any land. Maybe that was the reason the little guy made his way into my cabin. He just needed a break. With a long curving beak and clear dark eyes I wondered what kind of bird my new friend was. I did want to make sure he was okay. It was night, but he seemed far too sedate to be entirely healthy.
I took a towel out of the bathroom cupboard and covered the bird, and scooped him into my arms. He weighed less than air as I carried him outside. He didn’t struggle or put up the least bit of resistance to my moving him. I was worried. Had he hurt himself on his way inside Umineko? Was he sick? Wild animals tended to avoid humans like the plague unless they are sick.
Setting him on a bench I filled a small bowl with fresh water and placed it in front of our visitor. He didn’t pay a bit of attention to it** nor did the flying fish I offered have any effect.
After 10 minutes he got down off of the bench and moved into the saloon. He tucked in behind the table and made his way into the darkest shadowy corner he could find, away from the red light in the saloon.
“Maybe just needs to rest,” Toshi San suggested. “He wants to go somewhere that’s quiet.”
At 5:45 the faintest hints of light brushed the Eastern horizon. Dawn was on its way. I went inside with the towel. I didn’t want dawn to come and the bird to start flying around the boat. It was vital to get him out when it was still dark.
He wasn’t in the saloon. He wasn’t on the port side, I peered down the dark steps to the starboard side. There he was, a darker pool in a darker shadow resting at the bottom of the two stairs. Directly in front of Mori San’s berth. I breathed a sigh of relief that Mori San hadn’t needed to use the head and accidently stepped on our guest.
This time when I draped the red towel over him he struggled. I smiled as he tried to stretch his wings and placed him on the back of the port side bench. After a few minutes he hopped down to the bench, and then thought better of it. My heart soared as he flapped his way back up to the ledge. A few minutes more and he disappeared into the dissipating night. He had just needed a place to rest.
Finding a bird in your cabin is fun, always provided you don’t step on it. On the flip side spent the next day cleaning up er… presents our friend had left.
I love breakfast burritos. They are healthy, tasty, and meet the requirements of sailing food: Easy and portable. Even better, they don’t require complicated ingredients. If you have leftover rice or beans from the night before they’re a fantastic way to use up ingredients.
Breakwater Breakfast Burritos
- 4 tortillas
- 4 eggs
- 4 slices of cheese (or 8 small slices)
- 2 c rice
- 2 c black eyed peas (soaked and cooked)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 T taco seasoning
- Crack egg into nonstick skillet over medium heat
- Immediately lay tortilla over egg squish around so that tortilla is coated in egg
- Allow to cook 2 minutes and flip onto plate
- Fry garlic in oil for 2 minutes
- Spoon rice and black eyed peas into pan
- Mix in taco seasoning
- Put tortilla in clean skillet over medium heat, egg-side up
- Lay cheese on top
- Spoon ¼ of mixture onto each of the tortillas
- Wrap and serve with salsa
*When handling wild animals always wrap them in a towel. This is safer for both of you.
- Wild animals don’t know what is happening to them. More often than not they are terrified of the person holding them and the towel protects you and curbs their movement.
- It is terrible to get human scent on the animal. Often others of its kind will shun it after that
- It is some protection from disease
**In retrospect he probably didn’t know what fresh water was! Sea birds have internal desalination systems so that they can just drink sea water. There have been numerous times at sea I wished I were built like that.