Giants ashore

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Southern Royal Albatross

Great Albatrosses are true seabirds. Both the different Wandering as the Royal Albatrosses are built to be at sea. With their 3.5m wingspan they are among the largest birds on Earth and their long wings are shaped like aeroplane wings. Or better, the wings of planes are shaped after theirs, as they were first of course. They don’t like land at all, the only reason to come to land is to incubate eggs and raise their young. Before being sexually mature, which might take up to 8 years, they have no reason to come ashore at all, meaning they will spent all that time at sea.

During our sea days we regularly have some of these giants around the ship. Always a really nice sight, but it is also really nice to be able to come relatively close to them on land. In this case we landed at Campbell Island (New Zealand) and had a walk over the boardwalks across the island enjoying the views, the New Zealand Pipits, but above all the Southern Royal Albatrosses that were nesting sometimes only a few meters away. A really special sight to see these giants quietly sitting on their nests.

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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