The Long Flight Home—CHAPTER THIRTEEN

BOOBIES AND THE OSPREY

ospreyOspreys: Seabirds sometimes known as the sea hawks, fish eagles or fish hawks. They are fish-eating birds of prey. They are large raptors, reaching more than two feet in length and nearly six feet across the wings. They are brown on the upper-parts and predominantly grayish on the head and under parts, with a black eye patches and wings.

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Flying high above the undulating ocean just a few miles north of the equator and just west of South America, Andie flew alongside Carl, with several other blue-footed boobies from their colony close behind.

“It’s been days,” said Andie, obviously troubled. “Where could they be?”

flying boobiesFor reasons known only to him, Carl was reluctant to answer. He chose not to share his speculation with any of the other boobies. But, deep down, he knew the boobie brother’s fate.

He responded, though, by repeating what they already knew, “They went underwater and never came back up.”

“That we know of,” Andie corrected.

“Sure. Right. That we know of,” Carl confirmed. He looked down at the empty sea, concerned and feeling helpless.

 

Aloft several hundred feet above the rough Atlantic, Dooley and Talli circled the air where Dooley thought they left the maelstrom.

Searching for signs of the whirlpool, Dooley looked down and watched the choppy ocean. Dooley turned to Talli, “We didn’t fly that far. It’s gotta be around here somewhere.”

Although he already decided the search was futile, Talli looked down, then over at Dooley. “We’ll find it, Dooley,” he said encouragingly.

Moments later, while Dooley was looking off in the distance, an entire school of flounder was violently expelled from the sea. They rained back down on the surface from more than twenty feet high.

Dooley gestured to the spot in the ocean. “There! Did you see it?” he shouted.

“You mean the flying flounder,” Talli answered forlornly. “Yeah, I saw it.”

With no further communication, Dooley and Talli started a steep dive toward the center of the widening splash rings.

Dooley and Talli hit the water like two large bullets and continued down. They hit the whirlpool ten seconds later, and less than a half minute after that, they were shot back out into the air.

This time, expecting to be propelled from the water, they both caught their balance and started flapping their wings as soon as they cleared the water. For once, they started flying instead of crashing back to the water’s surface.

“I can’t believe we’re actually getting good at that,” Dooley observed.

“You know how, when you do one thing over and over, you eventually get used to it?” Talli asked.

“Sure,” agreed Dooley.

“Well I’ll never get used to following you into that maelstrom, getting all twisted and turned at a gazillion miles an hour, and being spit out nobody knows where or when,” Talli ranted.

“It’s really not that bad,” Dooley countered.

“You’re kidding, right?”

Something ahead of them caught Dooley’s attention. “Now that looks promising,” he smiled as he observed a steel-hulled ship at anchor.

Talli spotted the ship in the distance. “Wow, if we’re not in our time, at least we’re a lot closer.”

Excited, Dooley exclaimed, “Let’s check it out.”

 

The ship was a former British minesweeper converted to a research vessel.  On the deck, two men, Jacques Cousteau and Jean-Paul Gagne, prepped several SCUBA tanks for an upcoming dive.

Circling high above the Calypso, Dooley saw a large female osprey. The boobie brothers flew toward her.

Dooley turned to Talli, “Might as well find out where we are.”

“Ospreys frighten me,” Talli responded. “You do the talking.”

Dooley and Talli flew next to Moana, the Osprey, who looked at them skeptically.

Moana spoke with a heavy French accent.”Who are you? And what are you doing here?” she challenged.

“I’m Dooley. He’s Talli.”

“I’m Moana. What do you want?”

“Well, Moana, we’re just two guys passing through,” Dooley answered cordially.

“From where to where?” she demanded.

Dooley and Talli shared a look. Dooley shrugged. “We got lost, just trying to find our way home.”

“And where is that?” she asked.

“Ever hear of the Galápagos Islands?” Dooley inquired.

“Can’t say as I have,” she responded.

“Ever hear of the year twenty eighteen?” Talli tried to find out.

“It’s sometime in the future, I’d imagine,” she replied.

Dooley grimaced as he looked over at Talli who braced for bad news. “How far in the future?”

Moana thought for a moment. “I don’t know, fifty, no, sixty years.”

“Drat!” blurted Talli. “I knew it didn’t work.”

Moana looked at Talli for a moment, confused. Then she looked away and spotted something in the water. Without another word, she dove toward the sea below.

As Dooley and Talli watched, she struck the water and lifted off again with a sea trout gripped in her talons. The last they saw of her, she was flying away with the fish dangling from her forward foot.

“She made that look easy,” Dooley observed.

“That reminds me,” Talli retorted. “I’m hungry.”

Dooley feigned surprise. “Really? Now that’s shocking.” Gesturing back toward the open sea on the other side of the Calypso, Dooley announced, “We need to head back and find that maelstrom.”

“Will there be snacks?” Talli wanted to know.

Dooley banked toward the ship, followed by Talli. As they flew past, Dooley looked down and noted the ship’s name, Calypso, painted on the stern.

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So close! Come back this weekend for the next episode!

© 2013, 2018 Sawyer Creative, LLC

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