Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Some creatures and things are suited to Great Elementals. They are born/made for regions that human beings only aspire to or strive beyond our nature to exist within.

Trigger Warning. Stunning flying scenes ahead.



The Albatross strives too, when young. It masters the air and the waters.

And we have made our own Albatrosses too. Metal ones.

Both are elegant, yet ungainly, yet again beautiful. 

Breath-taking. Mind-enchanting.

A breeding ground, close to home. Not far from the Tavern.  

North West Tasmania.

The Albatross Island, part of the Hunter Island Group, is an 18-hectare (44-acre) island and nature reserve located in Bass Strait, that lies between north-west Tasmania and King Island, Australia. That's King Island at the top left of the map. They make fine cheese there !

The island is part of the Albatross Island and Black Pyramid Rock Important Bird Area that is notable for its breeding colony of 5,000 pairs of shy albatross, some 40% of the world population of the species

They do breed elsewhere of course.  Slightly different specii. And they have to go to 'flight school' in the Pacific to get as good as their Tasmanian bros.

Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds allied to the procellariids, storm petrels and diving petrels in the order Procellariiformes (the tubenoses). They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there and occasional vagrants are found. Albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses (genus Diomedea) have the largest wingspans of any extant birds, reaching up to 3.7 metres (12 feet). The albatrosses are usually regarded as falling into four genera, but there is disagreement over the number of species.

Albatrosses are highly efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion. They feed on squid, fish and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing or diving. Albatrosses are colonial, nesting for the most part on remote oceanic islands, often with several species nesting together. Pair bonds between males and females form over several years, with the use of "ritualised dances", and will last for the life of the pair. A breeding season can take over a year from laying to fledging, with a single egg laid in each breeding attempt. A Laysan albatross, named Wisdom, on Midway Island is recognised as the oldest wild bird in the world; she was first banded in 1956 by Chandler Robbins.

Of the 22 species of albatross recognised by the IUCN, all are listed as at some level of concern; 3 species are Critically Endangered, 5 species are Endangered, 7 species are Near Threatened, and 7 species are Vulnerable. Numbers of albatrosses have declined in the past due to harvesting for feathers, but today the albatrosses are threatened by introduced species, such as rats and feral cats that attack eggs, chicks and nesting adults; by pollution; by a serious decline in fish stocks in many regions largely due to overfishing; and by longline fishing. Longline fisheries pose the greatest threat, as feeding birds are attracted to the bait, become hooked on the lines, and drown. Identified stakeholders such as governments, conservation organisations and people in the fishing industry are all working toward reducing this bycatch.

Meanwhile the humans have to practice too.  A friendly wave too as he flies in.

The seaplane is an endangered species too. Between the 'Wars' seaplanes developed and reached a zenith. Land-based runways became common and the waterways were all but sidelined.

Specifications (HU-16B)
Data from Albatross: Amphibious Airborne Angel 
General characteristics
Crew: 4-6
Capacity: 10 passengers
Length: 62 ft 10 in (19.16 m)
Wingspan: 96 ft 8 in (29.47 m)
Height: 25 ft 10 in (7.88 m)
Wing area: 1035 ft² (96.2 m²)
Empty weight: 22,883 lb (10,401 kg)
Loaded weight: 30,353 lb (13,797 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 37,500 lb (17,045 kg)
Fuel Capacity: 675 US Gallons (2,555 L) internally, plus 400 US Gal (1,514 L) in wingtip floats plus two 300 US Gallon (1,136 L) drop tanks
Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820-76 Cyclone 9 nine-cylinder single-row air-cooled radial engine, 1,425 hp (1,063 kW) each

Maximum speed: 205 knots (236 mph, 380 km/h)
Cruise speed: 108 knots (124 mph, 200 km/h)
Stall speed: 64 knots (74 mph, 119 km/h)
Range: 2,478 nmi (2,850 mi, 4,589 km)
Service ceiling: 21,500 ft (6,550 m)
Rate of climb: 1,450 ft/min (7.4 m/s)

But once the human has mastered what he is able to do with his Albatross, he can roam the skies over waters like his natural bros.

Some gorgeous scenes in America here. The plane just wants to land and skim along all those stretches of water.


Ain't this 'Life' bizzo just wonderful.




  1. Glorious visuals and a satisfying narrative.
    A predecessor cousin was marooned between Stanley and King Island around 1900 before it was inhabited. Cornelius King and the crew, but one, survived for 3 months and were written off by all except for his father, Thomas King [1813-1910]- formerly of the British Army and staunch Protestant who happily converted to my great aunt's faith [Eleanor Morris]and prayed with her that their son would be found.
    The island was Three Hummock Island.

    1. Absolutely fascinating. Here in our modern civil world of shops and TV, individual and independant travel, we lose sight of the huge privations people put up with just a few generations ago. What we do have though is this facility of seeing and vicariously experiencing the elementals and sheer beauty that natural flight and our attempts at it afford.

  2. Magnificent. Dare I say it but your posts are getting to that inspiring stage - will have to run a feature on them soon.

    1. High praise from an expert. I guess I shall have to give you the keys to the cellar :)

  3. Lovely visuals of the feathered Albatross. He looks unequipped to fly but he manages it anyway :-) And one has to wonder about the technology that allows the metal variety to fly...

  4. It may be seen as a design flaw that a bird has to run along the water when trying to get airborne. But what makes difficultu here gives grace and endurance there. The 'older' birds holding position in a strong wind, hovering - with some effort- over the same bit of rock, is an astounding bit of airmanship. Then we come to that chunky, lumpy metal contraption which by any aesthetic ought not to show any grace at all, yet does. It is far too bulky to fly, yet does.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..