• 26-OCT-2014

  • SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race

Adil Khalid (Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing), the Bird Whisperer

At this point in the Volvo Ocean Race, one can see nothing but an infinite blanket of ocean stretched against the blue sky. The Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team is now at least 5,000 nautical miles away from home. But if one would have thought there isn't a living creature around in this openness, one would've been mistaken.

While having his morning breakfast, getting ready for yet another busy day aboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's yacht Azzam, Adil made a new, rather unusual friend: a Great Skua. The large seabird happened to be flying near the boat when it caught Adil's attention, who waved his hand with a piece of bread to attract the visitor.

Asserting its reputation as a 'pirate of the seas, showing little fear of humans and deliberately harassing other birds to steal a free meal', the bird glided down without a moment's hesitation and snatched the bread from his hand. Then, to Adil's amusement, it made a return for another treat, before it parted away from the yacht heading to the opposite direction, flapping its wings as though making a gesture thanks.

"The boys saw me, so they asked what I was doing," says Adil, to which he retorts: "I'm brushing up on my falconry skills. Just like back home, where I enjoy falconry with friends…"

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