The Osprey’s story
Dawn broke early, yesterday’s ghostly fog having blown itself away during the night. To the East, the pinpricks of light that had marked Jersey’s position on the horizon were slowly eclipsed by the sun’s rays. I blinked, rudely awoken by a BM as he pumped up the DOTI boat not two meters from where I had nestled for the night. I watched with interest as he repeatedly stomped on a small grey object which emitted a ‘whoosh’ with every blow – I wondered what had angered him so much that he felt the need to expedite the demise of the object so viciously. With his job done, he moved off and left me with just the whistle of the wind around me. Instinct told me to fly away but my fascination with these people kept me perched on my coil of mooring line. The brief experience I had of their home yesterday – I gather they call it a ‘ship’ – had been less-than encouraging. It had taken me a full three hours to find a spot that was comfortable to perch on, and all of that time I was peered at and photographed repeatedly, as if I were some kind of tourist attraction. Strange creatures indeed.
The unusual behaviour of these ‘people’ showed itself further today in their obsession with ropes and sails. Before breakfast they uncoiled ropes, spent twenty minutes tugging on various lines, then recoiled the ropes, leaving the deck looking exactly the same as they had found it. Granted, a few large white ‘sails’ had mysteriously appeared above me during this time, but they couldn’t possibly be related... A mere 45 minutes later the people filled the deck like ants over a rotten banana, only to uncoil the ropes and pull on them a second time. The large white flappy things quickly disappeared, and I briefly entertained the thought that perhaps the ropes and the sails were related, but dismissed the idea. After all, they didn’t even look anything alike!
I was finally displaced from my perch a few hours later by these strange folks as they flaked out the mooring lines on the deck. It turned out that the large coil of rope I had been perching on all day was another obsession of these people. Without warning, a pair of these humans jumped up onto the level I was on and started pushing the various coils of ropes over the side of the roof. Naturally, I wasn’t going to sit by and allow myself to be pushed over the edge with the rest of the coil, so I took off.
I circled the ship a couple of times, a reluctance to leave surprising me with its intensity. I climbed high into the sky, so high that the ship looked like a single living being. Nelly rolled easily in the swell, as if she were revelling in the movement of the sea. For that instant, I felt a kinship with the ship – both beings that live off the sea, roaming around the globe in search of adventure. I watched on absently as a small vessel came alongside the tall ship, attaching itself just like a pilot fish onto a shark. The thought of fish distracted me from my musings and I turned north, scowering the sea for my next meal – I’d heard that mackrel were plenty around these parts.
Thus, I left the Lord Nelson as she headed towards St Helier for the end of her voyage. I wished her well during her weekend of open ship at the Jersey Boat Show, and hoped that next time I endured the migration from Africa, I found another ship with such an...’Interesting’ crew.
Oswald the Osprey, Temporary Voyage Crew.