shanlung (shanlung) wrote,

9-11//Dommie final visit to ocean Ramadan 2010 & unsheduled Riamfada free flight//The Day Approaches


Remembrance of 9-11

On this day, we recalled and reflect on the events of 9-11, where a band of murderous madmen took on the world as we have known.

To me 9-11 did not start on 9-11. It started on 9th September.

I have been following Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Lion of Pansheer, for a few years. From the time he lead his forces against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and a potent fighter against the Taliban.

Massoud was assasinated by suicide bombers on that 9th September. The news of his assasination hit me very hard. So much so that in the late afternoon of 9-11, Singapore time, I went to Borders bookshop to look for books on events of Afghanistan.

I could not find anything on the shelf on Afghanistan war. So I went to the help desk. They looked at me blankly as I asked for books on Massoud, Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda, the Talibans. After they checked their computers, they looked blankly again at me and asked if I got those names correct.

I then went home. I turned on the TV and CNN to see a tower on fire. I thought that was some trailer for block buster movie. A few minutes watching that told me that was real even part of me could not accept that as real.

I then thought a ghastly accident must have occurred.

Then in front of my eyes and that of millions , we all saw the 2nd plane strike the twin tower. I and millions others must have glued ourselves to the TV the rest of the time, evening time for me in my part of the world at that time when we saw the terrible fire ball and smoke blossoming out from the side of the second tower.

It became so clear to me. Osama, that mad genius, knew he had to take out Massoud before 9-11 and he did that on 9-9.

I knew in that evening on 2001, those people in Borders bookstore, and all over the world, knew who was Massoud, Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda, the Talibans , without having to check any computer help systems.

The world was not the same after that.


Dommie final visit to ocean Ramadan 2010 & unscheduled Riamfada free flight

more photos in flickr folder 'Dommie final visit to the ocean Ramadan 2010 '


Thursday, 9th September 2010, was the last day of Ramadan 2010. The beach that we have been to with Dommie and Riamfada had been very quiet with very few people during the fasting month. That quiet and tranquility will be gone with people coming back after the fasting month to the beach, playing football, racing about on their quads and just being there. Dommie could not stand the crowds, with kids and adults at times, trying to throw stone at him.

For that matter, neither could I. There had been a few times when I had to suppress that murderous rage in me to hurt those bastards as they tried to hurt my Dommie. He was there, not harming or troubling them at all. I would have been a lot more effective than they had been. That would have landed me in jail and kicked out earlier from Oman which would have been bad for all of us.

Omer who was to be Riamfada's caregiver was not an outdoor man and not well off either. I am happy enough that he and his family will care for Dommie and give him love. I doubt him, or anyone else in the world for that matter, will routinely take their kitty for walks on the beach or to paddle in the tide pools.

If you know of any other kitty who love to go to the ocean edge and love paddling about in the tide pools, please let me know.

So that 9th September would be the final time Dommie would feel the sand of the beach under his paws.


This would be the final time he could hunt for crabs. Or to dig holes in the sand. Or to feel the wind blowing the sea spray. Or to smell the ocean. Or to see Riamfada winging her way in the sky with sea gulls soaring away in the distance.

Or to be with us all there.

Perhaps in the future Dommie would reflect back on those happy memories and wondering if it was real at all and not part of kitty dreams. No other kitties that he would be talking to would believe a word of what he said, especially so as they cannot get into Internet to read my reports and see the photos and videos that indeed all these did take place.

Even with all that I wrote, in the future chapters of my life, all these would be like a dream to me. Not to talk about it all being a dream for Dommie.











more photos in flickr folder 'Dommie final visit to the ocean Ramadan 2010 '

Youtube video of Dommie in the water

Of course, Riamfada did recalls to me. To stretch her wings in space bigger than our living room or even in neighbourhood walks. I do hope Riamfada will think back of her days with me with fondness and of the places that we have been to and the soaring flights in all the places, the fortresses, the mountains, and the seasides in Oman.

Again, it is enough that the Jabris will care for her and love her and allow her to fly about in their big villa. To expect that Riam be given the lifestyle she have had with me is not possible.

Only I can give her that kind of livestyle. But that will draw shortly to an end in just a few more days.

I decided to take the camera and shoot Riamfada winging her way to me from my wife across the tide pools and the ripples of water and sand at the edge of the ocean.

While it is likely Riamfada will be again at the ocean edge before we have to leave her, it will not be likely Dommie will be able to join us.







Then again






more photos in flickr folder 'Dommie final visit to the ocean Ramadan 2010 '

We did quite a few recalls. Some of which were partially shot, and some totally unshot by wife or by me.

You recalled in the last report that I was musing that if I stayed on and if Riamfada remained with me for a longer time, I would have felt confident enough not to use the leash at all to allow her total free flight with just her harness on with our phone numbers in that aluminum cylinder thingy.

You recalled too of the pull tests I would do on the line before flights. I and my wife carried out the pull test to see if any line weakness prior to recalls for weeks and months on end.

Then it became periodic.

Then the tests became sporadic.

Then we forgot all about the pull tests.

Dyneema is very strong, stronger than Kevlar, so why should I be so paranoid. That grand escape in Seifa Al Sheik

was a year ago if you are wondering how that test degenerated from being done religiously all the time , to being done periodically, to being done sporadically.

After all, in that late afternoon, we did so many beautiful recalls.

What was another recall?

Which was then done.







That flight was beautiful. I had angled my position so that Dommie would be captured on the beach during that flight of Riamfada. Riam was not coming directly to me. That was understandable as you have seen in other sequences. With a gusty cross wind, Riamfada had to bear away before she finally headed to me.

Except in this sequence, she was not heading to me. In fact, she was heading away from me. Since I was focusing on her with the camera holding that with the right hand, my left hand was holding the rod/reel. For right hander like me, the left hand was pretty useless and not reeling in the line as I would have done if my wife was holding the camera and shooting.

I felt Riam was doing a parroty joke, and I was not in the mood for parroty joke.

But of course! I had no worries. Thats what the harness and leash was for. No less than Dyneema super strong braided line. And wasn't I the Maestro of harness flying?

I gave a quiet curse, dropped that camera to let it sling on my neck and switched the rod/reel to my right hand while Riam flew far beyond me. I could not see her as she was flying directly into the sun. While it was late afternoon, the sun was still high enough to nuke my eyeballs.

I could not see Riam at all.

I was not going to reel in that line. I placed my thumb with light pressure on the spindle to add a bit of drag. There was a lot of line. But in a short while,I felt the hit when Riamfada reached the length of available line. It was a very slight tug. I wondered at why the tug was that slight but did not think further at that time.

Shortly after, Riamfada curved out of the sun and came visible again.

Her curve became a huge ellipse high up in the air. I recalled thinking what a beautiful flight. I tried to hold the camera with my left hand since my right hand was occupied with the rod/reel. Cursing again when I found my left hand was as useless with a camera as it was earlier with that rod/reel.

I told myself 'Wow! Riamfada had a lot of line to be that far away'. Mesmerised by her flying, I looked on with admiration and not willing to reel in the line to let her enjoy herself.

Then I saw her changing direction and heading back to me and coming fast. I did not call any recall cue as I felt that to be superfluous since she was clearly coming to me. I hold out my arm in what I felt was a gesture to welcome her home and back to me. I even thought of dropping that rod/reel so I could shoot and capture her coming back to me, with even deeper regrets that I had not captured all of that.

She landed on my shoulder with force. A solid landing , and not those feather soft landings that she was so capable of. I felt that was deliberate, perhaps in exuberance after such a long flight that gave me so much happiness.

I then focused on reeling in the line. I saw the line snaking back to me on the sand, with something dark at the end. I thought perhaps a bit of sea weed, or twig got caught as happened from time to time. It got nearer, and to my shock, I made it out to be the Hawaiian snaplock at the end of the leash.

I thought Riam somehow got that Hawaiian snaplock off the swivel joint despite my weaving of the leash line to prevent that.

It got nearer, and to my horror, I could see the swivel joint still attached to that snaplock.

I thought back, to that slight tug. That had been the point when the swivel joint parted from Riamfada's harness. Riamfada must have known that immediately it occured.

She was not turning because her leash line forced her to turn.

I had not care for free flights anymmore, especially when it was so near to handling over. My emotions are troubled, and I just do not want even the slightest risk of mishaps regardless of how I feel Riamfada to be so trustworthy of allowed free flights. Riam is an empath. What if in free flight, I had a moment of great pain when I thought of our coming parting. That thought might reach her heart and might just upset Riamfada with consequences that might be even more painful.

This free flight was unscheduled, unplanned, and unwanted.

At that point of that slight tug, Riamfada would have known that she was totally free. Since I thought she was still on the line, and in the blissful ignorance of a fool, admiring that flight. Riamfada went on into an exuberance flight with all those wide circles in the sky. I thought she got lots of line and of course, like a fool, felt so good to see her do all that. Riam went on to do all that.

Luckily, she loved me.

And came back so nicely to me.

And she was free and unleashed on my shoulder when the realisation hit me with a thunderbolt. I turned my head to look at her. She bobbed her head up and down, looked at me as if telling me there was nothing at all to worry about and lowered her head for headrubs.

I really think the leash was more to reassure myself than anything else. Even so, I grapped her harness end to reassure myself she remained on my shoulder. The line was threaded through the loop and tied firmly.

My wife by then came to me. And she became the camera man once more.




Only then I felt 'safe' with Riamfada nicely attached to the leash line again.

We stayed on the beach for a short while after that. Light was fading. Enough of flights for all of us.

We returned to our villa. And did a forensic examination. The leash had not broke or got bitten away.


I had tied that swivel joint with 2 turns and 2 half hitches, one of the most secure kind of knot. The loose end left after that was long. I recalled 'tidying' that by snipping the left over line shorter. Why I did that showed what a fool I was. When so much loose ends of line were left on the harness in the tiebacks for those loops (with treble redunduncies in knots), the key knot was the leash tie to that swivel joint.

It was clear that Riamfada loosen that knot. To the point the knot gave way the moment that tug came. I had so many redunduncies even in tieing the aluminum thingy with address.

Haven't I pontificate often enough to remain paranoid and to check and recheck?
Everytime before you take your birdie out on harness and leash?

I became complacent, and I forgot.

In the most important connection of all, only that single knotting.

I am good with closing barn doors, even and especially if the horse came back home.

This problem will not occur again. At least with Riamfada.

more photos in flickr folder 'Dommie final visit to the ocean Ramadan 2010 '


The Day Approaches

moccasinlanding commented in last post


Shanlung, I have a difficult time expressing my feelings about the impending separation of you and your beasties and birdy. Life is such a matter of chance to begin with. Assuring a secure path for everything we meet during the course of our days is not a realistic objective. We can only be kind and respect the creatures we encounter. I think you behave in an exemplary manner personally, and you give your support to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to help the beasties you cannot personally touch.

As long as you are employed in your chosen profession, you will be faced with goodbyes. I forget who said this, but it is appropriate in the case of you and Riamfada and the kitties too: "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

Folks like myself who have followed your adventures across three (?) continents know the TinkerBell saga, the pain of that departure, and the agonies you went through before accepting the Riamfada Challenge. In this case, you knew going into it that it would end one day. I have no doubts that it WAS better to have loved...than never to have accepted Riamfada into your heart.

It is my belief that you have prepared Riamfada for a happy life long after you and Joy depart from Oman. She is quite capable now of surviving in the somewhat harsh world of us human beings. You've pointed out how a flighted parrot has a different perspective on even the geography of your walled neighborhood. How good that you have made such observations, where others might not have done so. You make all of us, friends of yours if I may say that, a part of your discoveries.

You will undoubtedly move into another avian relationship which might be as serendipitous as that of Riamfada....who practically fell out of the sky into your capable stewardship. What next, I am wondering? And so must you be wondering the same. I will continue to follow your travels and adventures, the way I follow the tales of the Jedi Warrior.

I can recommend that as this goodbye to Riamfada approaches, you read the final portion of Alfred Tennyson's ULYSSES... always called onward by Fate...or in your case, by Karma.



Thank you.
I copied your comment over to reply to you here.

We have only a few days left with them.

My flight will be on 4am 26th September.

So more likely than not, those goodbyes will be said to Dommie and Riamfada on the 23rd and 24th respectively.

As said before, looking at problems of other people around the world, my leaving of my beastie and birdie is not that great.

I have prepared mentally for this almost from that first day , even before Riamfada came to me.

Part of my heart and soul will be left with them. But I suffer no loss. For in being with me, they gave a large part of their hearts and soul to me, that I will take with me when I go.

And in being with me, they got to be known far and wide, perhaps helping others of their kind to be better loved and appreciated by those that read of us.

I never was eager for that next chapter to start. But I accept in what I am in, my life will consist of chapter after chapter.

In time, we all will see how that will unfold.


I knew we were here in Oman on borrowed time since the end of last year. Ever since early this year, I expected I have to leave Oman and all my creatures here. If you have not known about all that and wondered why I cannot take Riamfada with me, please read the following.

Riamfada foraging // 3 days 2 nights at Wadi Bani Awf and ending of this chapter

Closing this chapter//Buwah off Harban with Dommie// Beautiful Wadi Qurai

Dedication // Raining curses on Katie at Al Felaij Dam // Riam in cage at Jabri

Mystic octopus // Snake Tshirt and more hide&seek recalls //Countdown to chapter end

It is painful enough for me as it is. So please read or re-read above before you write to me wondering why I have to leave them. Please do not make it even more painful for me to reply and tell you things I have said above because you had not read that.


An important key in your relationship and understanding your parrot mentality from Tinkerbell Legacy
Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot - Rant 03 (a flighted parrot mentality)

Important old letters on harness
Harness for flighted parrots – To Nick and folks

August, 2005.

‘ cargo cult'

'Ramadan & Kitties on beach// Chess -1st Saturday IM Tournament // Tinkerbell Harness for Piper '

Making of Tinkerbell Mash
Morning with Harry & the decision// Sultan of Oman Palace// Tinkerbell Mash Batch 7


If you like the photos here, they are all taken by my wife and uploaded on my behalf by her.

She has her own sets of photos in her Flickr account here



If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.
or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice


For those that through no fault of their own, or otherwise, and had to part painfully and unwillingly from their beastie or birdies, whether in the past, or the present, or in the future, I dedicate the saga of Riamfada that I had wrote , and continue to write to that final handover , to you all.


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