I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face [or beak], and a grey dawn breaking.
There’s no fowl play with this chicken story. Chickens are a newsworthy flock. We want you to hear all about how amazing and life-changing friendships with these feathered friends can be. But we aren’t the only ones with something to crow about. Chickens are making the news for themselves – without further cackling here is a real tall tale to bring to your nest of the woods. Let’s set our sails to tilt into the wind made by this wonderful chicken story!
Monique is Unique
Well…she isn’t as far as chickens are concerned. Her bravery and inquisitive nature are common to members of the race poulet. What is unique for Monique is the plan hatched by her best friend, Guirec Soudee. Soudee and Monique are sailing around the globe together. This adventure fits the life quest for both hen and human. The pair have formed that unbreakable bond between soul mates, who actually are sailing mates! For all of us living with chickens we know just how endearing, enduring and tremendously rich relationships with our birds can be.
A hen and the sea
Guirec Soudee has the same nature that chickens have, he loves to do things and has a cultivated sense of ambition. It was in the Canary Islands that Soudee happened upon the individual that shared his spirit. Soudee had hoped to bring another sailor on board his 39 foot craft, the Yvinec, to share in his venture to journey around the world. Deciding that a cat would not be the best partner, in walked Monique, une poule rousse.
Monique, like other chickens, didn’t need to submit a resume – chickens are game for any challenge. One look into those charismatic eyes, in May of 2014, and the young Frenchman knew that the bond had been set. Monique was a feathered siren. The two set sail from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, and then tacked north to the Arctic seas.
"I knew she was the one straight away." Guirec informs from their latest port in western Greenland.
"She was only about four or five months old then, and had never left the Canary Islands. I didn't speak any Spanish and she didn't speak any French, but we got along." The BBC interviewed the sailors. The two share their wildly popular adventures through Facebook and Instagram. Their Youtube Channel is — “Guirec Soudee.”
“Elle est Belle et Aventuriére”
Monique is a sex-link hen born in 2014. She has many talents that set her on course for a seafaring lifestyle. Her courage and desire to reach for the next goal has allowed her to master many skills. Monique is an accomplished paddle-boarder, wind-surfer and experienced swimmer. Yes, chickens really can swim. In fact, many chickens love to relax on a boat or while paddling in water (never allow birds to swim unattended).
Monique has even laid eggs in the cold of Greenland AND in the limited daylight season. She laid 25 eggs in 28 days of sailing on open water as they crossed to St. Barths. Wherever the pair land, the hen makes friends immediately. In Greenland – few had ever seen a hen in person.
Her partner is attentive to all of his friend’s needs, but he adds that she is a tremendously strong individual and never asks for much, “she’s very brave,” he stated in an interview with the BBC. Soudee is careful to keep Monique’s safety in mind at all times, placing her below deck during storms and high winds.
"Compared with people, she doesn't complain at all. She follows me everywhere, and doesn't create any problems. All I need to do is shout 'Monique!' and she will come to me, sit on me, give me company. She is amazing.”
Sometimes such close living can create strains, “I won't lie, she can get on my nerves sometimes."
It is absolutely impossible to try to convey the essence and beauty of this sailing event through words. Be sure to follow this exciting journey through the pairs’ online chronicles.
As for the next destination…
"We're not sure yet," Guirec says. "We haven't talked about it yet, but we will.
We talk a lot, Monique and I."
Like the red hen in the children’s book, Monique will have her own fable to pen. The Transatlantic Voyage of Monique will soon be released and a documentary is in the works. Even though no bread baking is involved, Monique provides all of us with a real-life moral that dreams involve more doing and less pondering. One’s life is all about the living.
Guirec Soudee has had an amazing life of his own! Learn more about his childhood, growing up on the Côtes-d’Armor by visiting this link. He and his family were the only inhabitants of one island. Armed with a storehouse of sailing knowledge, Soudee started his first journey at the age of 18 with nothing more than desire, curiosity and €200. He landed in Australia without a job and barely any English.
Soudee reminds us that: “Life is too short not to live our dreams and we should make every effort to achieve them. He wants to stress that even with few resources if you have a strong will you can achieve anything in life!”
Monique seconds that
• Fun Fact: How does Monique handle boat rocking and unstable footing? Sea legs, of course. All chickens possess a stabilization mechanism (called the vestibulosensory system) that keeps their heads steady while their bodies move. This is an adaptation that allows birds to maintain control while riding air currents…so, rolling with sea currents is a snap! Watch how this ability is impressing humans.
You can witness this cool trick at home. Watch your birds’ heads as they swing on their Chicken Swing. Stabilization in action! Unfortunately, the silkie breed lacks this stabilization ability.
Fowl Play is sure to be following the coming adventures of Monique and Monsieur Soudee. Don’t forget to bring your tall tails into port…share your pictures and story with all of us chickens by commenting below. Get off the roost and build your own fowl adventures!
Follow Fowl Play’s “Chickens in the News” — and One Sea-faring Hen’s Tall Tale