The Osprey: Magnificent and Irksome

If this post were a motion picture, it would be rated at least PG-13 for gore. Consider yourself warned!

The Osprey, also known as the sea eagle or fish hawk, is a magnificent bird of prey whose diet consists of 99% fish. This bird grows to approximately 2 feet long and has a wing span of up to 6 feet. They truly are majestic to watch. They have a peculiar way of catching fish. They can spot there prey from over 100 ft. in the air, then dive down into the water, at the last second, bringing their feet forward under their chin, making a feet-first entry into the water, clutching the unsuspecting fish with their talons.

The Beautiful Bother atop our mast this morning

The Beautiful Bother atop our mast this morning

The hawk with his prey atop a neighbor's mast.

The hawk with his prey atop a neighbor’s mast.

All this is wonderful… unless the osprey decides to use the top of your mast as his dining table. This is because the osprey is a sloppy eater. I did not discover that on any National Geographic special or at Wikipedia. No, I’ve discovered that first hand. Yesterday, while I was at work, Cindy was doing battle with an osprey who desired to dine atop our mast. She didn’t seek to harm the beautiful creature, only to scare him off to enjoy his meal atop someone else’s boat. Ultimately, she lost. He would fly away, only to return a few moments later to enjoy his seafood. What follows are depictions of the aftermath of an osprey enjoying his meal atop your mast, using the deck of your boat as a basin to catch the leftovers of his messy meal.

Awful Offal

Awful Offal

Miscellaneous (apparently inedible) fish parts

Miscellaneous (apparently inedible) fish parts

More fish offal

More fish offal

The blood-spattered deck of our boat looks like the scene of some gory slaughter

The blood-spattered deck of our boat looks like the scene of some gory slaughter

Our osprey encounters illustrate once again the nature of living close to nature, the agony and the ecstasy of life aboard a boat. We are blessed to see these magnificent creatures up close like few others are, but, alas, we have to clean up after them. (Editorial note: Let it be noted that last evening, while I worked, Cindy was doing janitorial duty for the ospreys, washing down the deck).

Lightning Strike

As mentioned last time, a post-Andrea priority was to double up the dock lines for Beatitude’s well-being in tropical storms, hurricanes, and even strong thunderstorms. Yesterday, that task was checked off the to-do list. We now have 4 bow lines, 4 stern lines, and 4 spring lines.

Port bow lines

Port bow lines

Starboard Stern LInes

Starboard Stern LInes

Speaking of thunderstorms, we had a pretty good one yesterday. Cindy and I were on our way back from the marina store in a light rain when a brilliant flash of light followed immediately by a loud clap of thunder, sending Cindy scampering toward Beatitude. It obviously was very close. In fact, it struck the mast of a catamaran called “Duke of Earl.” It blew the antenna and wind vane off the top of the mast. Those nearby smelled the smoke. No doubt, the electronics were fried. I’m not sure what the exact repair cost will be, but I am certain it will be well upwards of $20,000. I have heard that “Extra! Extra!,” the catamaran docked next to the “Duke” also suffered damage.

The unfortunate "Duke of Earl." "Extra! Extra!" is on the left of the "Duke."

The unfortunate “Duke of Earl.” “Extra! Extra!” is on the left of the “Duke.”

So, is there any rhyme or reason why a particular boat was struck while others nearby were spared? Does the boat with the tallest mast get hit? The answer appears to be “No.” Out of a hundred or so masts in the marina, the lightning found the “Duke’s” mast most attractive. We’re thankful Beatitude was spared.

While I doubled the lines, Cindy labored away inside doing some cleaning. Since I had to put the dinghy in the water to secure the lines on the outside pilings, we thought we would reward ourselves with a dinghy ride up the river for a snack and beverage at a waterside restaurant, another first for us. We hopped in the dinghy and motored the 1.5 miles or so upriver to Tarpon Pointe Grill and Tiki Bar. We had some mediocre loaded fries and a “Malibu” bucket. The bucket was better than the fries. 🙂

On the way to the restaurant. Beatitude over my left shoulder.

On the way to the restaurant. Beatitude over my left shoulder.

Dining al fresco.

Dining al fresco.

Home of the mediocre loaded fries.

Home of the mediocre loaded fries.

Now, we are off to California for five days, where we will celebrate our daughter-in-law, Fran’s, graduation from Veterinary School from the University of California, Davis. We will have another Dr. Carey in the family in a couple of days. It will be good to see Fran, our son, Jeremy, and other member’s of Fran’s family in Sacramento/Davis. Until then…

Andrea

It didn’t take very long into the hurricane season to experience our first tropical storm as live-aboards. Andrea has given us the proper initiation by bringing her winds and rains to the west coast of Florida. As I write this, I am sitting at our salon table, bobbing up and down and swaying right and left. Cindy has just gone below to lie down to prevent queasiness. I feel like I’m riding one of those mechanical bulls. In actuality, hasn’t been all that bad. I’ve had to reposition/resecure a couple of lines, but other than that, we’ve had no problems (except for one leaky hatch). I’ve yet to double up any of my dock lines, which I must do as soon as possible in preparation for any other tropical storms, hurricanes, or even strong thunderstorms. That’s on the priority to-do-list.

Andrea, with a quite well-defined eye for a tropical storm

Andrea, with a quite well-defined eye for a tropical storm

Looking forward out our salon window

Looking forward out our salon window

Water coming up over the dock

Water coming up over the dock

Re-securing the port bow line

Re-securing the port bow line

At this point, Andrea, with sustained winds of 60 mph, is close to making landfall north of us. Most of the rain has moved off to the east. There were several tornadoes in the area this morning, but we were fortunate to have no damaging winds at the marina. The winds here were probably sustained around 30 mph with gusts in the 40s range. Our high tide was a couple of feet higher than usual. We saw water splashing up over the dock for the first time. However, the tornado threat is now lessened and the worst is behind us. Thanks to all our friends and family for their prayers and concerns.

Andrea's wind

Andrea’s wind

Cindy braving the storm

Cindy braving the storm

Today is my day off, so I’ve been able to be with Cindy on the boat. It’s been a stay inside, stay dry kind of day. If the bouncing around isn’t too bad, I plan to make some Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair Pasta for dinner this evening.

Below is my first attempt at video editing using iMovie. I’ve got a lot to learn and plenty of room for improvement, but I’m happy with this first attempt. The video itself was shot well after the worst of the storm had passed. I mainly filmed it to show the bouncing of the boat and as an excuse to practice my video editing. Cindy says the movement is far worse than is shown in the video. It is actually quite an experience watching the video of the boat move while the boat is moving. You’re not sure what is real and what is virtual!