There are numerous creatures, great and small, that land on our cruise ships as we sail the seven seas. In my time I have come across quite a few different stowaways in all shapes and sizes and some were enough to make your toes curl!
The most common for us all is the pigeon, I have found many a pigeon catching a break on one of the ships open decks. I suspect they are nearing the point of exhaustion when they spot the great white whale and decide to spend the night aboard.
My favourite based on how pleasing to the eye they are is the Dragon Fly. I can never get over the size of their eyes or the explosion of colours that flash through each vein in their tiny little wings as the sun shines down on them. I met this little fella in August 2010 as we sailed towards Palma De Mallorca. He had landed on the sandal of the lady sitting on the sun lounger beside me. She had nodded off so I took the opportunity to snap pictures as close as I possibly could, hopefully without disturbing the woman or the Dragon Fly. After a few minutes I could suddenly feel her eyes upon me so I simply said please don’t move, just look at your left foot. She lifted her head as gently as could be and her eyes lit up, this was then followed by ‘Wow look at him’. I must admit he is not the most colourful I have seen. A year earlier I caught sight of one that was the deepest shade of blue but with a subtle white tint, he almost looked electric!
One of the most interesting would have to be a Cricket that my friends found living on their balcony. I did mention Jiminy (yes we named it) in a previous blog. He was already on the ship when we boarded and my friends told their cabin steward not to throw him overboard. The cabin steward said the Cricket had been on the ship for several weeks, being looked after by each occupant of the cabin. The choice was made to leave him on board when our cruise came to an end, although we do hope he didn’t freeze to death as the ship was heading to the Fjords.
I must finish though with the most uncomfortable. As we sailed from Gibraltar in 2009 the ship was suddenly overcome by a swarm of wasps. I had never seen anything like it. The ship was literally covered, you couldn’t put your hands on any of the rails and you could certainly not sit in peace. I don’t know where they came from as we had already left the port when they suddenly descended upon us. It was a relatively hot day yet more than half of the outer decks were empty. You just couldn’t sit outside. Eventually we were able to venture back out, but the following day brought the true horror. There were dead wasps everywhere, they obviously succumbed to the cold of the night and they lay on each and every surface of the outer decks, the odd one being spotted inside the ship. I have never witnessed anything like it since and I would hope I never do. It felt like we were trapped in a Stephen King novel!
I would love to hear of interesting creatures you have encountered whilst on board (no, fellow passengers DO NOT count 😉 ) So please leave a comment below if you have some good ones to share.