Fast fact: The Shy Albatross cannot fly from a standing start, they need wind to get their body weight airborne. What is their body weight?
Feet spread about a meter apart to provide a stable base of support. Knees slightly bent to absorb the next shock of hitting a wave. Make sure you hold on with at least one hand. This was how we travelled by boat this morning with the fantastic John and Paul from the Marine Police. We bounced past Three Hummock Island and Hunter Island to the small rocky outcrop that will be our home for the next five days... Albatross Island at last.
Julie leapt ashore as the boat nosed in to the rocks. We unloaded as many bags as possible before backing up to avoid being banged into the rough shore. It took skillful steering to get all the bags and Kris and myself ashore.
Now to get all our equipment to our unusual campsite... a cave. Heave, haul, heave, haul, up we go. We ferried each drum and bag to the top of the first rocky hill until we were above the entrance and then handed down bags before taking everything into the cave. It sounds simple when I write it in a few sentences, it was quite a process in real life.
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Phew! The cave, where do I start? To the sound of seals in the next bay we set up our food area and tents. Looks very homely l think.
With tents up and lunch eaten we went up to the south colony to check on the numbered nests. It's only a short walk from the cave but we had to scramble up and over and through another cave and up a ladder and then...there they were. Albatross everywhere, all perched on nests or wheeling in the sky. What a scene!
Kris checked nests while I recorded and Julie scanned for poo samples. Walking amongst the nests of albatross goes down as one of the most amazing things I've experienced. They clattered their beaks in protest but we moved slowly to minimise our disturbance. Up close and personal we could obsserve the fluffiest chicks you have ever seen.
We checked some of the artificial nests over the next hill and sat watching the birds and chicks for ages. Parents came in from foraging to take over nesting duties, usually landing with a thump. Graceful in the air, but not as graceful on the land.
Finally, it was time to come home. What an awesome day. What a list of new experiences. Tonight we will have visitors...tune in to see who shows up to share our cave home.
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