It can get lonely at sea. That's why sailors sometimes have pets — the occasional cat or maybe a parrot. French sailor Guirec Soudée, however, has a hen.
The 24-year-old Soudée began his trip around the world with a chicken named Monique in May 2014. He wanted to bring along a pet for company and originally thought about a cat, he told the BBC, but figured a feline would be too high-maintenance.
"The hen was an ideal choice. It doesn't need that much looking after and I'm able to get eggs at sea. People told me it wouldn't work, that the hen would be too stressed and wouldn't lay eggs," he told the BBC from western Greenland where he and Monique are now moored. "But there was no problem, she laid eggs straight away. She adapted to it perfectly — she was very comfortable very quickly."
Monique seems to like life on the water.
Monique warms her feathers after jumping into the freezing water on a sunny day. 'Not to worry though,' says Soudée, 'she knows how to swim and is now warming up by the heater.' (Photo: Voyage d'Yvinec - Guirec Soudée/Facebook)
She quickly learned how to swim, and now she knows how to windsurf and paddleboard, too. Watch how unflustered she is as she takes to the board in this video.
The duo shares a 39-foot boat called Yvinec. Monique has mostly free rein of her floating home, except during bad weather.
The pair's adventures have attracted a lot of international attention. Their exploits have been written about in all sorts of media and they've picked up thousands of followers and fans on Facebook, Instagram and on Soudée's website. Monique is reportedly also working on a children's book.
Monique lays a few eggs a week, and eats pretty much anything, including whatever Soudée is eating. When they land, Monique likes to explore their surroundings. She's even a snow bird.
Soudée says he knew immediately that the two were meant for each other.
"I knew she was the one straight away," Guirec told the BBC. "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."
Soudée writes on his website that he has several goals for his trip. He hopes to inspire others to live out their dreams (even if they are less exciting than sailing around the world with a poultry companion) and he hopes to create or participate in ways to help preserve the oceans.