For the past month, the Southern Ocean has been my back yard. Aboard the “Miss Carmen”, my junk shop bike and I have voyaged from Hobart, Tasmania, south to Port Davey then north to Bruny Island (for a closer look at these places, check out the map below. You can zoom in to get some incredible detail).
Mornings at sea, after the day shot was finished (when the crayfish pots were put in the water), we steamed to another fishing spot. It was during these hours that the Shy albatross came to visit.
These are large birds. Adults boast a wing span of 7 to 8 feet. Solitary wanderers, they cover tens of thousands of miles in their lifetimes, coming ashore only to nest. Then they put back to sea.
Swooping low to the water, their flexible wings conforming to the Southern Ocean swell, the tips of their wings inscribed tiny wakes on the watery surface. Then the birds would wheel skyward, tipping at dizzying angles up into the blue.
Sometimes they landed on the water behind the boat – looking for a piece of bait. Other times they dove for a mackerel tossed their way.
In rare calms, they would land briefly on the water. Resting only moments before lifting off back into the sky.
Then came the day our fishing trip came to an end. As we steamed back to land, a final albatross came into a view. It hovered in Miss Carmen’s wake. Then wheeled. Shot into the sky. My old camera, crippled now from all the salt water exposure, clicked. The photo came out blurry. But it captured the albatross’ spirit better than any other shot.
And then the magnificent bird was gone.
My cray fishing days were over.
bernie, it seems you have become a romantic while fishing crays. and I think maybe even a difference is apparent in your writing… nice.