Periwinkle comes stumbling out of her teleportation tunnel rubbing sleep from her eyes. When she sees Stinky, she mumbles, “What the whiskers is going on? Why did I have to get up so early, and where the heck are we? And, for that matter, why are we a day late going on this week’s adventure?”
Stinky lets Periwinkle have her mini rant. After she finishes, he gives her hugs and whisker kisses. “We are going on a little trip on the James River, and the boat leaves super early. And I am sincerely sorry for having to reschedule our adventure for today. Mom wanted me to rest yesterday after I had a seizure on Monday night,” Stinky tells her.
“I hate those nasty seizures. My brother Raz has had a few, but that you have them so often sucks.” Periwinkle hugs Stinky tightly and asks, “Ooh, are we going fishing? I like fishies.”
“Not exactly, but fish are involved,” replies Stinky.
“This is all very mysterious.”
Stinky tells Periwinkle that it involves the subjects of the picture he colored for her that was part of the note he sent her. Periwinkle checks the note again “Are you talking about those gigantic birds? They are big enough to carry us away and eat us,” Periwinkle says with alarm in her voice.
He tells Periwinkle that they are going on an adventure called Discover the James’ Bald Eagle Tour with guide Mike Ostrander. Dad Tom has been on it twice and recommended it. He also tells her that they will be on a pontoon boat, which will take them on a six-mile stretch of the James River, known as Jefferson’s Reach. They will pass through an ecosystem filled with wildlife, history and beautiful scenery. He also tells her that the tour will encompass eight territories with resident bald eagles, which 233 pairs call home.
Periwinkle claps her paws together and squeals, “This sounds incredible, let’s go.” She grabs Stinky’s paw and starts pulling him toward he boat. When they get to the water’s edge, Captain Ostrander helps them onboard, and they set out. Very quickly they see their first eagle.
Periwinkle points and says with a sputter, “Oh my cat, Stinky, look at the size of that guy!”
“What do you think he’s staring at?”
“Probably us, thinking what a nice snack we would make,” says Periwinkle. This time the captain assures Periwinkle that they are safe and tells the tabbies that the eagle’s name is Bandit.
“My goodness, Stinky, look at that one. Do you think he sees a fish?”
“I bet he does, and I bet he catches it!”
Though it is not allowed for the humans, the captain tells the tabbies they can get off the boat and explore a little.
They first spot two flying eagles, one with a fish in his talons.
When they spot two other eagles perched high in a tree, they decide to climb up and check them out.
Periwinkle exclaims, “Wowzers, these guys looked a lot smaller when we were on the ground! Stinky, they are bigger than we are. I sure hope they ate lots of fishies and aren’t hungry.” Stinky tells her that the eagles do not eat guests.
Ospreys aka Fish Hawks
After climbing down, the tabbies notice an osprey with a fish in his talons. Stinky remarks, “All these birds are certainly good fishermen.”
They sprint along the shore and notice the osprey goes to a nest. Stinky and Periwinkle climb up to check it out. Mr. Osprey greets them in a high-pitched, whistling voice. The tabbies giggle behind their paws.
As they are climbing down, they spot another osprey nest atop a channel marker. They cannot pass up the opportunity to check it out more closely.
“Periwinkle, this is a very energetic bird. Look at the size of this nest.” Periwinkle agrees it is quite spectacular. The tabbies climb down, and the captain helps them back on the boat.
Just as the tour is about to end, Stinky points out another osprey to Periwinkle.
“Hey Stinky, I think that osprey is giving us the stink eye.” Periwinkle realizes what she’s said and giggles again. She asks Stinky, “Do you think calling that look the stink eye was named after you?”
“No way; though, I am a master of it. I think cats have been giving humans the stink eye since the beginning of time. This guy probably is wishing we’d all go away so he can get a nap.”
“Or maybe he’s never seen a cat before,” says Periwinkle.
As Periwinkle and Stinky disembark, they thank Captain Ostrander for a terrific tour and head to their teleportation tunnels.
Periwinkle asks Stinky if he has brought any snacks? He shakes his head,”no,” and asks her if she has any? Periwinkle replies, “No, phooey. We should have cadged some fish from one of those birds.”
“That probably would have gotten us eaten,” Stinky replies.
“It is very unlike us to forget the treats. I think it’s due to having to get up so early. This means we have to head home, but I am not ready to leave you yet.”
“I don’t want to leave you either, Periwinkle. But we will only have to wait six days until our next adventure. That’s a good thing.”
“I guess. I wish we could go on an adventure everyday, so we could spend more time together.”
“That would be great for us, but I think our moms wouldn’t be happy about it. Too much work for them.”
Periwinkle pouts and says, “Yeah, I guess you’re right about that.”
Realizing they cannot stall their departures any longer, the tabbies begin sharing whisker kisses and paw hugs. Finally they say their last good-byes and enter their separate teleportation tunnels. With two big whooshes, the tabbies are on their way to their individual homes.