Chicken for Barrow

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The captain and his first mate/Guirec Soudee, Facebook

Guirec Soudee, the chicken sailor, is Barrow bound.

“Today is a great day finally we leave for the North West Passage after one year spent in greenland,” he posted on his Facebook page Monday. “Don’t miss anything of all our adventure from North West passage in Alaska. See you soon on Facebook!”

The chicken is “Monique,” a two-year-old red hen.

In the annals of gimmicks used by adventurers to attract attention, sailing around the world via the Northwest Passage with a chicken as your crew is definitely new.

“She is the first mate to 24-year-old French sailor Guirec Soudée,” reported “The duo have spent much of the past two years on the high seas, sailing from the warm waters of the Caribbean all the way to chilly Greenland. Along the way, they’ve made stops in St. Bart’s, Virgin Gorda, Bermuda, and elsewhere.

“And because nothing really happens unless it’s documented on social media, there are thousands of people following Soudée and Monique’s voyage on Facebook (more than 80,000 “likes”), on Instagram (18.7k followers), and via their website. Soudée maintains this lively online presence with the help of a satellite phone.”

Since ModernFarmer joined the pack of journos following Soudee a little over a month ago, the number of “likes” on the Guirec and Monique page is up over 92,000.

Man and chicken are well on their way to celebrity.

The BBC gushed all over the duo in June shortly after Cosmopolitan UK headlined “This hot guy is sailing around the world with a chicken called Monique.”

Anna Lewis at Cosmo was clearly into the “insanely hot man.” Roland Hughes at BBC News was more taken by the chicken in keeping with the tone of the venerable news service which dumped the references to Soudee’s looks in favor of a headline that said “Monique, the hen who is sailing around the world.”

As if a hen could sail…

Score Cosmo one up on the BBC in the accuracy department. Soudee is sailing. Monique is cargo, but useful cargo.

“Over an average week, Monique lays six eggs, even in the cold climes of Greenland and even during three months there without sun,” Hughes reported.

Obviously recognizing he global reach of the BBC, Soudee played his appearance there like a champ, supplying the news organization with no less than a dozen photos of Monique in various poses.

He cuddles her to his breast. She floats atop blue waters in a tin pot; stands atop an iceberg floating in a Greenland fiord; rides a paddleboard and windsufer with Soudee; swims with him; perches on the tiller,  aft deck and stern railing of his 39-foot sailboat, scarfs down a bait fish; stands atop Soudee’s four-foot catch of the day; and models a knit sweater on a Greenland snowfield.

“I knew she was the one straight away,” Soudee told Hughes. “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.”

Soudee confesses he thought about bringing a cat as a sailing companion, but settled on the chicken. Monique, he said, is no fuss; and there are those eggs as a benefit.

It is all part of a well-traveled story. Soudee has been all over the English press, in Parade magazine and in New York Magazine where Adam K. Raymond reported “This Tender Story of a Frenchman Who Took His Chicken on an Epic Voyage Will Melt Your Heart.”

“…The couple has forged an unbreakable bond that could teach the world a lesson in these troubled times about man’s ability to form a true friendship, a heartfelt rapport, with one of God’s most glorious creatures,” Raymond wrote.

Ah yes.

They should be in Barrow in time for the fall whaling season.





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