On a wing and a prayer: meet the fearless hen sailing around the world

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Léonie Chao-Fong

If dogs are man's best friend on land, and cats make for a woman's perfect sailing buddy – what makes the ideal companion for a man who's sailing the world?

A hen, that's what.

Meet Monique, the plucky hen sailing the seas with her captain, 24-year-old Frenchman Guirec Soudée. 

The SBFFs (that's Sea Bound Friends Forever, obvs) first met in the Canary Islands, when Guirec was looking for some company and a trusty shipmate aboard his nautical adventures.

"I knew she was the one straight away," he 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."

Monique may have fewer knots to her belt, but she's certainly not one to chicken out when the waves get rough.

Since they began their weird and wonderful journey together, the pair have sailed the Caribbean and braved the Arctic seas - and to our joy, they've documented each maritime moment on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

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While Guirec does most of the hands-on labour on board, Monique prefers to relax and admire the view from the deck, while letting the fresh sea breeze run through her fine feathers.

She's no lazy sailor though. Her contribution comes mainly in the form of eggs – which keep Guirec fit and fed – and of course, her excellent sense of toilet humour. 

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She's also proven to be surprisingly keen on water sports, and enjoys paddle-boarding, windsurfing and swimming.

"At the beginning, I was very worried  – there would be huge waves and she might stumble," Guirec told reporters. "It would look for a second like she might go overboard, but she would always regain her footing."

"She's very brave," he added with unabashed pride.

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Since setting sail together, the pair have become firm friends and shipmates for life.

"She follows me everywhere, and doesn't create any problems. All I need to do is shout 'Monique!' and she will come to me, sit on me, give me company. She is amazing."

"But I won't lie, she can get on my nerves sometimes."

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Guirec and Monique are now bound to sail through the Arctic and down the Bering Straight towards Alaska.

Monique – we salute you. Because while most chickens are busy crossing the road, you're crossing the great seas.

Follow them on their trans-species travels on Instagram and Facebook.

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Léonie Chao-Fong

Léonie is a freelance journalist who writes primarily to fund her dumpling habit. She has many strong (and not necessarily informed) opinions about art, society, the West Wing and her labradoodle.  

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