1200 on 31/3/2009 In position 13:21.59N, 056:26.62W

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Tue 31 Mar 2009 18:55
All ok onboard. 109 miles run yesterday - less than 200 to go, all being well we should be in Barbados Thurs a.m. Only notable event in last 24 hours being the skipper having a Tern on deck just after dark. It was a Little Tern according to the wildlife book we carry although we couldn't get near enough to measure its actual length to ensure it qualified as a 'Little' variety as opposed to young specimen of any other larger Tern variety. Ornithology not being one of skip's strong subjects. (Definitely not an Artic Tern though for what were felt to be obvious reasons). After numerous reconnaissance flypasts to pick an ideal landing site - goodness knows we have enough deck area for a whole breeding colony of Little Terns and most other types of Tern as well, the stupid bird tried to land on our thin guard wires on the stern access steps. As well as not being suitable for a webbed footed landing -it was also perilously close to our wind turbine, with Skip thinking that after a flying fish in the lap the previous night he would be scooping up pieces of chopped Tern off the deck the next. A tense few moments waiting for the splat followed by feathers fluttering all around were ended when the bird, realising that webbed feet and thin wire indeed aren't compatible with each other decided to undertake another couple of fly pasts until it finally earmarked a suitable landing spot - on one of our pristine new white life rings, where it subsequently emptied  the contents of its 'holding tank' prior to indulging in a spot of preening before finally settling down to enjoy the night air and sea views. It was difficult to see if it was still there in the dark so that a suitable pictorial record could be captured for the Atlantic album, so a carefully aimed torch up to the bimini underside gave just enough light to reveal our guest was indeed still with us  Out came the camera - FLASH ! Well It tolerated having its picture taken - although it probably couldn't see to fly for a few minutes after the flash went off, but the starting of the starboard engine to charge the batteries was more than it could stand and its tenure on the life ring came to an end. Skip was then able to get on with his watch without tip-toeing around the cockpit to avoid unnerving our guest. Bit of a mess on the life rings to clear up this morning. Maybe it will be somebody else's Tern for a visit today! -  Sorry, too long at sea.