Our Last Passage
04 May 2014 | Bradenton, Florida
We had some hitchhikers on last night passage from Everglades National Park to Bradenton, FL. About an hour before dusk as be were sailing into a rain storm a flock of barn swallows joined the sailing vessel Arctic Tern on its last passage north. The swallows flew into the cockpit while we were rolling down our rain windows and after a lot of fidgeting about they settled in for the night. We counted 17 birds, 15 in the cockpit and two on deck that overnighted with us for 80 - 100 miles. As the wind shifted the lumpy seas were causing the boat to roll and I was not the only disgruntled bird...the swallows chittered with each roll keeping the person on watch company. When the seas settled there was not a peep from our hitch hikers. At dawn they preened and stretched and flew off. A few needed a bit of encouragement to leave our warm cozy cockpit. What a great way to end a cruising career.
Hunter had two swallows on his hat and he tried to gently let one walk onto his finger only to have a third bird land on his hand.
After a very rainy morning (not complaining we did need a boat wash), we got into Twin Dolphin Marina, in Bradenton, FL. I was a bit fearful that our 8 years of cruising would end with a lightening strike only a few miles from our final destination. Luck was with us and we are in a slip ready for the work to begin. My wonderful sister Louise Rivera came with dinner and champagne. How lucky am I?