Cruising World - - Underway - — Brian Sager

Last Novem­ber, the crew of Espirit d’es­cales cast off from Ply­mouth, Mas­sachusetts, and mo­tored south through the Cape Cod Canal, headed to Ber­muda. Af­ter three days of rel­a­tively calm New Eng­land fall weather, we learned a se­ries of cold fronts would be pass­ing over us, start­ing the fol­low­ing af­ter­noon. At about the same time, a small spar­row landed in the cock­pit and made it­self at home. The bird pro­vided a bit of en­ter­tain­ment to the four crew, then stretched its wings, lifted off and flew away.

About 30 min­utes later, the bird reap­peared in our wake, fly­ing in a more er­ratic man­ner. Af­ter a few failed at­tempts to land aboard in the gusty conditions and con­fused sea state, the bird, while prac­ti­cally fly­ing side­ways, crash­landed on our deck.

We of­fered the bird wa­ter and nuts, which were re­fused, and then it im­me­di­ately took flight once again. Fly­ing a few laps around the boat, look­ing for al­ter­na­tive land­ing sites, the bird sud­denly banked sharply and flew di­rectly through an open hatch into the aft head.

We slowly opened the head door and of­fered more fresh wa­ter and nuts, but largely left our new pas­sen­ger to it­self and used the for­ward head in the mean­time. Some­time around mid­night, a mem­ber of the crew used the aft head, and af­ter wash­ing his hands picked up the hand towel be­fore re­al­iz­ing the bird had made it­self a nest there!

The fol­low­ing day, the bird flew out the head port­hole and into the cock­pit. It landed on Tim, our cap­tain (left), who de­cided to doc­u­ment the oc­ca­sion.

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