What Is The Bermuda Longtail?

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The Bermuda Longtail carries the spirits of Angels.

Bermuda Longtail at sea. Photo by Greg Frucci

In short, the most beautiful seabird I have ever had the pleasure of seeing both at sea and on land in Bermuda.

To be completely correct, the Longtail is actually one of six different types within the white-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) species according to Wikipedia.  I created a link for you if you wish to know more.  Here is a quote from the link:

The white-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) is a tropicbird, smallest of three closely related seabirds of the tropical oceans and smallest member of the order Phaethontiformes. It occurs in the tropical Atlantic, western Pacific and Indian Oceans. It also breeds on some Caribbean islands, and a few pairs have started nesting recently on Little Tobago, joining the red-billed tropicbird colony. In addition to the tropical Atlantic, it nests as far north as Bermuda, where it is locally called a "longtail".

The Bermuda Longtail At Sea from Greg Frucci on Vimeo.

I could go on and on about the Longtail.  Just know that when I was alone at sea in my small 30' sailboat, the S/V Cuddy, one came to visit me each morning.  While out there, I had no idea what it was.  I had never seen one or even knew it existed.

Sailing to Bermuda was the first time I was alone at sea and my first voyage anywhere.  I had never been to Bermuda until I sailed there.

The ones...or one...who came to see me became a Guardian Angel.  They actually spent time with me.  A Longtail would come to my mast first as if it wanted to land.  Flying around a bit, it would come down to within a few feet of my head and just stare at me.  Hovering while I slowly moved across the Ocean towards Bermuda.

Upon arrival in St. Georges Harbor and after checking into the Customs Dock, I walked (stumbled actually...it's a sea legs thing) through town and into a Pharmacy.  On a postcard rack was a photo of the Longtail.  I flipped it over and found out the bird is the Bermuda Longtail.

I had to leave my boat in Bermuda for repairs after sailing into the center of a developing tropical system on the way to Bermuda.  I bought a round-trip ticket and flew back six months later to sail my boat back to the USA spending another nine days at sea alone.  The return trip to the USA took me south into the Bermuda Triangle, then northwest back to Wilmington, North Carolina.

On the way to the airport in Bermuda, I had a conversation with a cab driver whose name is Freddy.  

Freddy was a retired Accountant.  Here is part of the conversation which is part of a chapter of my book, Path of Three Hundred: Volume I:

"I sailed here by myself from the Village of Masonboro, North Carolina. Over seven hundred miles across open ocean. While I was at sea, seabirds would fly near the boat every day. I can't remember exactly, but about four or five different species of birds could be seen all the way here. All but one of the species generally ignored me. They would fly by or land in the water and sit. Perhaps just to rest after hunting for fish. The one who did not ignore seemed to seek me out," spoke a somber Petah.

A big knowledgeable smile appeared on Freddie's face, "Alone? I see."

Petah continued, "Every day, starting the morning of the second day at sea and for the next six days, a white bird with black markings and a long tail feather, as long as his body, would come to my mast and hover as if he was trying to land on it. The bird would then move down towards me and hover about ten feet, perhaps closer, above my head. It was the strangest thing. He...or she...would just stare at me. I could see the bird's head move to look at my eyes. Hovering there for five minutes or so, the Beauty would fly a circle around the boat, come back to the same spot and stare. The Longtailed One would repeat this several times over fifteen or twenty minutes and fly away. Not until I arrived here in Bermuda did I realize the name of the seabird. As tired as I was that first day here, I wanted to find a postcard to send to a friend of mine. Muse, is her name. Wandering around a pharmacy, I noticed the bird on one of the cards. Turning the card over, it read, 'Bermuda Longtail, the National bird of Bermuda'. I felt a chill down my spine."

"You say the bird did this every day. At the same time?"

"Starting the second day. Yes, however, I did not see one the morning I sailed into St. Georges Harbor. I just realized that."

"Because you made it safely here, Petah," spoke a smiling Freddie with a wisdom deep within his soul.

"Is your father still alive, Tah?"

"No, he was killed in a boating accident at sea almost ten years ago."

Freddie smiled again and this time he let out a big sigh, "I do not know what your beliefs are, Petah. And they do not matter. We all can believe whatever we wish. That is our sacred choice as humans, but I and others here in Bermuda, will tell you that the bird you saw, was your father guiding you safely here. The Bermuda Longtail carries the spirits of Angels."

Note:  I changed my name and the names of most others in my book.  The name I chose for myself was Petah.

Yes, this is a long post.  But like I stated before, I could go on and on.  The Longtail still affects me to this day.  Please pardon the length of this.  I'm actually laughing at myself right now as I write this.

I am an Artist to the core.  During the time between legs of the Journey at sea, I created this drawing of the Longtail from memory and a part of a video I shot while out there.

Original drawing of the Bermuda Longtail by Greg Frucci.  June 2011

Every since I created this sketch back in June 2011, I've wanted to do something more with it.  People would say, Frucci, that would look fantastic as a tattoo or a T-shirt.

Finally after all of the years since, a few days ago I created the Bermuda Longtail Collection.  You're here on my site, so maybe you've seen it already.  If not, the link is below:


Sailing Bermuda Longtail Hoodies and Sweatshirts for $0.44 at Feel The Sea Sailing


Do you have a story similar to mine about the Longtail?

Or, do you have a story about an animal connection to a loved one who has passed on?

Either way, I'd love to hear about your story.

A note on the music...

"Haizum Oz" is the original creation of my friend, Pablo A. Mendoza who is incredibly talented.  You can find this song online by clicking the link below:


Better yet, his first CD, Peregrinaje which I listened to on my voyage to Bermuda, can be purchased and downloaded by clicking this link below:


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