The sight left me speechless and I got goose bumps whenever I looked up. There were at least a hundred seagulls flying above me.
Can we catch such a sight at zoos or near the coast?
I was standing at the bow of a huge container ship battling the waves in South China Sea.
I couldn't stop taking pictures in my mind of the magnificent view of seagulls circling around the lamp post at the bow and chattering with each other.
Why were they all here above the sea?
Maybe they were saving their energy by utilizing the air currents created by the ship's bow, I thought.
They shot downward in one fast motion and stopped suddenly just before hitting the sea surface, and then flew back high in the air.
To my inexperienced eyes, it looked like the sudden downward moment gave them time to rest.
As soon as I was back on the navigation bridge, I shared my observations with the ship's captain Gu Longhua. After listening to me, he grinned from ear to ear and said, "Wrong! The seagulls were hunting for fish rather than having a short rest."
I was stupefied for a while and replayed the scene in my mind.
"If you observe more carefully, you can see some of them holding fish in their mouths. That's a kind of sea fish which can fly for a short distance," captain said, "but few birds can succeed in catching them."
I thought what an interesting observation! That's the kind of knowledge we cannot gain in our daily life.
I felt so grateful for the chance to travel by ship and experience such wonderful moments.
On July 27, I saw the ship for the first time at Shanghai port.
"Cosco Netherlands is over there!"
I couldn't help shouting the ship's name as soon as I saw it through the window of a vehicle. The ship looked huge.
The five-year-old vessel has the transport capacity of 13,000 standard containers. It has a length of 366 meters and width of 51.2 meters.
Later, I embarked on the ship excitedly and got ready to start the trip which was destined to be unforgettable.
My trip will take me along the maritime Silk Road to Europe, passing through several well-known waters including South China Sea, Indian Ocean, Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea. And the destination is Valencia, Spain.
Coincidentally, this was the first time I was going abroad. I had imagined millions of times what my first foreign trip would be, but the fact was far beyond my limited imagination.
During the past week, the ship visited several Chinese cities, such as Ningbo, Kaohsiung in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Now the ship was about to travel out of the South China Sea and will be berthed in Singapore on Monday.
I'm looking forward to docking at Singapore.