Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Post of the Modern Mariner, or Seagulls Following Boats

And a good south wind sprung up behind;
The Albatross did follow,
And every day, for food or play,
Came to the mariner's hollo!

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Like the albatross led the ancient mariner out of Antarctica, the seagull above led us modern mariners across the bitterly cold and windy New York Bay. It was almost too cold to stand on the outside deck, except that the view of the Manhattan skyline, the Statute of Liberty, and the bustling tugs and barges was too captivating.

The huge gusts of wind tossed this poor gull about, but amazingly he was able to steer himself, avoiding crashing into the boat and occasionally even dipping down to snatch up a fish filleted by the boat's propellers. Like the albatross, he seemed to be both playing in the wind and picking up some easy food. He never had to flap his wings, he only used them as rudders to navigate the air currents.

If you look at the photo above, you might feel you were still in the 18th century with Coleridge. I'm sure the boat we were on was not as romantic as Coleridge's tall-masted sailing ship, but it was still pretty nice. You can judge for yourself from the photo below.

And I couldn't resist throwing in a completely unromantic photo, but one that really shows a feeding frenzy of seagulls. The photo below is on the Elizabeth River in Virginia, on a tour of the Norfolk Naval Station. The tour boat, followed by a tug and a container ship, chopped up enough fish to cause a seagull riot.


  1. I think it is a cool shot of the gulls and the feeding frenzy.

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