This summer we had a first when we hopped over from the Vineyard to Nantucket Harbor. The current wasn’t very favorable but the seas were calm. As you can imagine a pretty popular island for tourists and boaters alike, it was above our budget to get a slip and no moorings were available. No Mooring – No Problem. Nantucket Harbor has great space to anchor up.
This leads me to my first story…….I Met a Man
From Nantucket. Tom Hulholland is a “Master Falconer” that lives in Sconset on the island. He is a wealth of knowledge on the ancient art of falconry. I thought why not and picked up the phone and gave him a call. Went back to the boat and convinced Frank he and I should go on this little adventure. Before I knew it we were on a bus heading his way. We met up outside the Sconset Cafe (great sandwiches by the way), jumped in Tom’s pickup truck, (delivered a few bills and stopped at a couple of his jobs), ending up at his quintessential cottage home.
What happened next was amazing to me. Shaka Zulu was first. A beautiful red-tailed hawk joined us in the yard. Red tailed hawks are probably the most common in North America. There’s a pair in Scituate often seen soaring above the open fields near the marsh, circling presumably looking for movement below to satisfy their appetite. Having the opportunity to be so close to and hold one was an experience for me. So majestic and beautiful; a rich brown with a beautiful, warm red tail. You could tell Tom and Shaka had truly bounded. Medieval Hawking or Falconry was a sport of hunting small wild game. Kings and Lords would have hunting parties. Falconry goes back thousands of y
ears and Tom is a wealth of knowledge.
Houdini was next. A Falcon that Tom has had for over 25 years. Shaka is still used for hunting, but Houdini is ‘retired’. While hunting, another bird attacked Houdini and injured his eye. We spent a few hours sitting with this man who reminded me of a wizard, talking birds, family, life, politics and anything else on his mind. Thank you Tom for a great, unexpected afternoon and for inviting us into your world of Falconry.