Big, bigger, HUGE

Royal Albatross

When I was a small boy I was already fascinated by albatrosses. Not that I ever expected to see any, they were birds of distant continents and seas that I never expected to visit. But their size had a great attraction to me. Maybe always being the tallest person in my class made me feel a bit like them, the birds with the longest wingspan in the world…

Now I am sailing the Southern Ocean and we have albatrosses around us all day. Most of them Black-browed (with a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters), a few Light-mantled and Grey-headed Albatrosses and every now and then a Wandering or a Royal Albatross shows up. These are the true giants amongst the birds with a wingspan of up to 3.6 meters! Really impressive to see those birds effortlessly soar over the waves, with hardly ever even making a wingbeat. They are so well adapted to life at sea, they can make hundreds or thousands of kilometers at sea and spent several years without touching ground. This makes them also very vulnerable to human disturbance and nearly all albatross species are placed on the red list with endangered species. I feel very fortunate to see these magnificent birds fly behind our ship.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


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