We were about a hundred miles out, sailing across the Mediterranean Sea from Paphos Cyprus to the port of Herzilya Israel, when we were joined on board by a cute looking birdie called a Hoopoe.
I must confess I`ve never come across such a feathered creature before. All the crew made a big fuss taking lots of pictures of Tweetie Pie as she hopped around the deck. After awhile I returned to my nautical chores below decks and saw no more of our dinky visitor until the following morning.
It was Sunday morning and I was standing on the wheelhouse roof with Sparky one of our cameramen; we were discussing how we wanted to shoot our marina entrance into Israel, suddenly our conversation was disturbed by a Dutch lady pushing a large cardboard box onto the wheelhouse roof right where we were stood, she opened the lid and said firmly “Don’t disturb it.”
I turned around wondering what on earth she was talking about when Sparky said “Oh, it’s that bird!” To which I responded “They can’t keep that as a pet!”
Sparky went on to explain that the bird was tired when it flew aboard, consequently some of the crew had taken pity on it putting it in this box, ironically the packaging read Chicken Dippers – Thankfully the carton was now playing temporary home to our feathered friend, along with an abundance of dead flies and a bowl of water for its sustenance.
Whilst this was all very interesting I was also mindful of the task in hand, so turned back towards Sparky who was facing the Tel Aviv skyline, when suddenly the winged one flew out of her box straight onto my shoulder. I couldn’t believe it! I quickly fumbled about in my pocket for my phone camera, once found, I tried to get Sparkys attention by digging him in the back with said phone, whispering for him to capture this unexpected moment, eh! It’s not every day one gets a Long John Silver part…pieces of eight….who`s a pretty boy!
Sparky was looking in the opposite direction oblivious to what was happening right behind him. He turned grabbed the phone and quickly clicked off half a dozen still shots, then proceeded to film the event with his Canon 550D which was already set up on his shoulder. Immediately followed by the Dutch lady calling from the prow of the ship “look everyone the bird is on Nick’s shoulder!”
Shortly after this the bird flew off towards the mainland of Israel.
Fluke or something else?
As soon as we made shore and found a Wifi signal, I posted the snap of me and my new friend Hoopoe. It wasn’t long before I was getting post, one particular message read “great photo – looks like it flew out to welcome you – did you know it’s the national bird of Israel?!”
Hoopoe synchronicity continued over the following few weeks, surfacing in murals and scripture, stimulating lots of conversation – Hoopoe was definitely on the radar and starting to look like a winged version of Where’s Wally…
Continued in Part Two