When you travel by boat in the Bosphorus, shearwaters will be following you. You must not expect to match their speed. They will fly past in a long, narrow convoy in close ranks, skimming the surface of the water. Depending on the angle of their flight, they are black, silvery or invisible. Never seen to feed, alight, strike against a boat’s side, deviate from their course or die. They shear waters, chase winds*, fly at the same speed in storm or calm. Sometimes there are two flocks, one racing towards the Black Sea and the other towards the Marmara. But they do not change course, intermingle or notice each other.
Some people believe they are looking for the Prophet Solomon’s ring lost in the sea, in which the unknown hundredth name of the attribute of God was engraved.**
Shearwaters are fading from view. Leave aside curiosity, thought or belief. You are with them. Feel it.
* The meaning of the Turkish word (Yelkovan) for shearwaters.
** Clare Sheridan, A Turkish Kaleidoscope, London, 1926.