Shearwaters dance at 34:50.7N 34:09.3W at 2200UTC 26May

Helena Schneider
Wed 26 May 2021 22:20
I am sitting on deck in the twilight, huddled up in my thermals and Oilskins with tears streaming down my face.

Never, in my whole life, have I seen anything as beautiful as the scenes unfolding in Freedom's lee.

I was so frustrated that during our last 500nm, we had to turn N NW into 20knts of wind and steep waves that sent us crashing off their tops and stopped us in our tracks, every third wave, a whole day!

And now here I sit, drowning in love and admiration.

I am witnessing the otherworldly dance of the Shearwater, first a single one, then two, three and suddenly around twenty birds soar and glide around us, entrancing us with their fluid movements.

The Shearwater is, with the Albatros, Fulmars and Petrels part of a family called Porcellariiformes: the Order of the Storm Birds.

They are the true master voyagers of the wide open Ocean, they mirgrate thousands of miles each year and have adapted to this harsh environment like no other species.

I can't take my eyes of these beautiful beings, they glide just a couple of feet over the steep waves, caressing with the outermost tip of their wing the water beneath them as they turn, flash their white belly and repeat the dance.

Every time they take a smooth turn and play with the furious Atlantic waves, I can't help but think of lovers, the gentle touch, saying 'hush my dear, I am here'. They soar up, float down, tuen and dip again, repeating their choreography.

It seems to calm Atlantic, the waves become less as I watch the birds all around us.

The group of Shearwaters stay around us for three hours, hours during which Freedom and I feel weightless and our minds fly along with these boundless travellers.

The souls of sailors are said to become Albatros in the after life, but, if I have a say when my time comes,
I would like to become a Shearwater and tell the Atlantic with every wing stroke how much I love her.