Ships Crew.

Alone at sea the madness begins with assessing the stowaways! I have a rule that any being on board has a right to life! Often at sea, a dragonfly, a bird ,a moth, sometimes in swarms reach the boat, and cling on for life. That is good enough for me. I will not kill any life form that reaches my safe haven. Its empathy you see. In my madness, I see these visitors (or crew) as beings who appreciate my (boats) location, and see it as their salvation. Who am I to destroy that hope. I am firmly in the live and let live camp!

However, not to be dictated by these visitors, we do have boat rules! The rules do vary a bit depending on the beast! If they are useful, they have a broader scope. For those who are just refugees and who we would not miss, they have a narrower scope. In some more dodgy spots in the world harbours, despite the above, some storyboards are definitely enemy. I refer to rodents, not known as such in my amateur sailings.

On the mooring, spiders are certainly present in quite some numbers. Especially in the spring and early summer. They set up their patches, and spend hours spinning webs. The rules are that if they spin in my working area then they are to blame. No liability is accepted. The counter rule is that I will (do my best) not to destroy webs with fishing rods and trifling sailing gadgets.

Moths and dragonflies are welcome as guests. Whilst they have no function they are welcome. I will respect their presence.

Flies are often the most numerous visitors. Their species vary. Some are just plain flies. Their rules are that they do not spit on the skippers mug or plates including his food. They are welcome to seek out spaces where they are safe until they sense food ashore. My favourites are the very pretty wasp flies, with their pretty abdomen. They are very gentle and seem only to want to seek a a safe space. Rules are the same as moths, just keep out of the boats working parts.

Birds are of course certainly welcome. There needs are to survive. They keep their distance, and are not inclined to be invasive. Indeed we have have have had swallows come aboard in the spring, disappearing into the cabin, whilst we are desperately sailing the boat in rough weather. Our total wish is for their survival. Pigeons are regular visitors, some actually escaping birds of prey. In Swansea Bay we had a pigeon hide under the seats, totally oblivious of us the crew. A Peregrine Falcon circled the spot wondering where the pigeon had gone.

Fish are regarded alas as food! But they also have their rules. If they are too small to make a reasonable meal, they are returned to produce next years families of fish. Alas if they are a dinner plate size, then they are to succumb to the human hunger and taste.

Finally at sea, we do marvel in the other mammals who swim with us. Dolphins now appear in their numbers. We hail them as friends, and some encounters have confirmed that. Seals sometimes appear, they do take notice of the boat, but keep a good distance.

We have come across Minke Whales, and fin whales, and they take not the slightest interest in the human form or his toy. Many huge basking sharks come very close to the boat, they do seem to be oblivious to the boat, though they manage to take avoiding action at the last minute.

Mad, no, not really. Just inventive!


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