Journal of Animals sighted by Alice Owen-Ryder
"Why did I start with Dear diary?, let's change that to something better... Journal!
Anyway, in this little book I want to list all the animals I've seen!
TW: Insect on page 9
Ship's Cat (Nauticis Felis Catus)
Firstly I want to introduce you to the most important crewmember of the Sunset Dawn; Roger. Roger is the Ship's cat. He's a jolly boy, always up for mischief if he isn't too busy begging for food from Alejandro or napping in the Captain's bed.
Roger absolutely hates seagulls. As soon as they land anywhere on deck, he is super fast to chase them off. Once he caught a fat and lazy specimen that was too slow. Oh, Roger was so proud of the bloodbath he created. Alejandro was less than happy that he dragged his catch to the galley, though. I guess Roger wanted to contribute to the meal?
OH look Roger signed my page!
The sea's garbage trucks.
Seagulls we see plenty, they are obviously birds. Big birds. White with different types being black or grey on head or winds or other coats. They don't fly far out into the ocean, so often when seagulls come close to the ship, it means the ship is close to land.
Ashton calls them Mews. He claims that's what people in his town call them. But Leon does not. So I don't know if he's tricking me.
the Legendary Birds
Albatrosses are amazing birds. They can glide on the wind forever. Hardly flapping their wings. They are so much more majestic than their nasty cousins, the Seagulls. They roam the wide expanses of the oceans, not bothering with visiting land for years. In the picture they might not differ much, but the Albatrosses are much bigger, from wing tip to wing tip they are wider than a man is tall.
It is said that an Albatross can cover 500 nm (nautical miles) with one flap of its wings. By gliding a certain way on the wind. It's like sailing I think. Michael is also an expert in adjusting the sails of the Sunset Dawn. He's much better at it than I am.
Another interesting fact, albatrosses get really old, 50 years is nothing special for them.
Royal Albatross by JJ Harrison via Wikimedia Commons
Lore has it that Albatrosses carry the souls of sailors lost at sea to the afterlife. I like that idea.
Because of that it's considered to give very bad luck to kill an Albatross.
Wolves of the Sea
Orcas the bigger black and white cousins of the dolphin. It looks cute and friendly, but don't let that panda appearance fool you. They are called Killer of whales for a reason. Killer Whale is a short version of that name that I dislike. They do kill whales, for food. Orcas are on the top of the food piramide of the ocean. They, just like wolves, have excellent pack hunting skills. Orcas not only work on instinct, but they actively teach their young the different hunting techniques.
A fun fact about Orcas is that they eat Moose! Yes, the giant deer that forgot the Megafauna era ended, and still roams around in North America (and maybe New Zealand). It turns out moose can swim to cross Fjords and such. Well, Orcas like to eat them as a surprise snack.
Something less funny, but understandable. Attacks on boats by Orcas have been increasing. Despite fishing regulations, their food sources are reducing, and they know that fishing boats are at fault for that. But they don't know a sailing boat from a fishing boat. Fishing boats being made of steel can handle a ramming orca. But quite the number of fiberglass yachts already have been cracked by the revengeful sea pandas.Orca
Giant Squid or Octopus
I had the night watch from 2 till 4, and was on the forecastle when I heard splashing at the port side. And clearly visible in the moonlight, a huge tentacle rose up from the sea. The diameter was bigger than my waist. There were two rows of suction pads going along the length. It lingered for a few seconds and then slapped against the side of the hull. The tip landed on deck, and then it slid back into the black deep without any trace. When I shakingly light my torch, a clear wet imprint of the suction pads could be seen on deck.
Marshmallow who was in the cockpit said he didn't hear or see anything. And when I persuaded him to come look at the deck, the clear print I had seen had been smudged together in a big wet spot.
Giant Octopus attacks ship by Gibson J. via Wikimedia Commons
Not my picture, a postcard I bought in Oranjestad
Green Sea Turtle
I was on the beach with Ashton and Leon, having some private time, when suddenly the sand next to us started moving. This little baby turtle crawled out and immidiatly started racing towards the sea! It was so cute. We watched in silence, looking for any signs of any of the turtles brothers and sisters coming out. But this was a lonely guy, he (or she, I don't have a clue) made it into the sea safely!
Add: I went to the library here in Plage de Sable I think this is a Green sea turtle. I knew turtles aren't known to be fast, but I was surprised to read that they only swim at 1,5 knots max. And then to imagine that they can swim for 1.000 miles to reach the beach they want to lay their eggs on!. It's also amazing to think that that little creature we saw crawl out of an egg, and that would've fitted in my handpalm (no we didn't pick it up!) will grow up to be a 1,5 meter long turtle that can weigh up to 190kg. I hope it's alloud to life out their life till a very old age, the library book says this Green Sea Turtles can get up to 90 years old.
Now I want a baby too, oh the joy of being a woman.
baby dragon (but not cute)
A week after we saw the little turtle, I was on that beach again. Hoping to see more turtles. But no trace of anything. I hope all brothers and sisters of that baby got safe to sea. I did see an Iguana, but honestly I think they are a bit scary. I've seen salamanders before, and didn't think much about those. But to see this lizard the size of me walk by gives me the shivers.
Probably it doesn't mind humans being scared, as that keeps them at a distance. Humans fuck up to much amazing nature :( .
Leon liked the idea of being a dad, Ashton wanted to think about it. So maybe.
Lester is creeping me out on the ship. Maybe I should tell the captain about him.
Alice! You were going to write about animals in this book, not diary stuff.
We were talking about the Narwhal the other day. The ship, not the whale, our colleague pirates. And I know this journal is about animals I've seen. But I'm going to list this one anyway. Because I really WANT to see it. I don't know if we will ever travel that far north with the Sunset Dawn, but one can dream.
Narwhal's are whales that live in the arctic area, they have one tooth that grows out of their mouth straight forward as if it's a horn. They grow about 4 to 5 meters long, (I don't know if that's with or without tooth?). I love that it's still a mystery on why they have the tooth/horn/tusk. Maybe it's for fighting over mates, maybe it's to poke holes in the ice to breath. Maybe it's to spear fish fish to eat. Maybe it's a sensor to detect prey or communicate. Nobody knows for sure. I love that, some mysteries don't need solving.
I don't have a photo of one yet, so I made a sketch.
TW: Insect on page 9
Or is it a moth?
These little black and white flutterbys where all over the ship after a storm passed in the night. There where hunderds on deck in the morning. But by noon most of them where gone. Not because they flew away, no, they looked exhausted, some flew up a feet or so to then crash on deck again. No it was birds, Birds where in an all you can eat paradise this morning. They didn't even let Roger chase them away.
Apparently these are Macrosoma Leucoplethes, and they are part of the American Moth-Butterfy hybride family. Besides that they were discovered in 1917 their wikipedia page is empty. The library didn't have any books on butterflies. But from my own very scientific observations. they are about two inches wide from wingtip to wingitp, and their body, head to tail a one inch.
Hoover to show
Dolphins by Gillag via Pixabay
There are several stories of dolphins helping sailors, guiding them around shallows, or even pushing them to shore if the've fallen overboard. Scientists have also observed them attacking sharks to chase them away from prey. Even if they weren't in any danger themselves. So they are clearlly compassionate animals.
There were six of them, I was busy on the forecastle, when I saw them approach from the starboard. The Sunset Dawn was making 15 knots at that time. And they soon began to play in our bow wave. Jumping, surfing down the wave. SWIMMING UPSIDE DOWN! I got to watch them for quite a while, truelly a magnificiant sight to see, those animals swimming at that speed whith such elegance, without any sign of effort.
Dolphins chasing by 185053 via Pixabay
Today I've seen,
It's been two weeks after the Mutiny on the Sunset Dawn, and today I had to go trough your belongings. This journal fills me with both pain and happy memories, and if you don't mind I like to hang on to it.
Your departure out of this world was too soon, and without reason. Why didn't you talk to me sooner? Why didn't I see the problems sooner? Is there a point to asking this?
I just hope that where ever you are now, you at peace, and able to see all kinds of magnificent creatures.
Goodbye my friend.
-Capt. R.A. Oak
CSS black magic by Stormbril, Thank you!
I saw the first page and immediately yelled "KITTY!!!" You know the way to my heart.
hehe I know my readers : P
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
I love how you've set this up, and I really like reading Alice's personal opinions on the creatures. Poor seagulls. D:
Thank you Emily, But the seagulls have only themselves to blame. XD
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
Poor Alice :( I love how you've presented this article, it looks great and was really fun to read! Roger is the best of the animals, of course :p
Roger is king yes!
Thank you for the comments. Alice had been dead a while, but in that article about the mutiny she is just a name. it's only now that i've given her a story. I don't want to hang everything to the MC of the tale. and have the rest of the crew just be cardboard cut outs filling the stage.