Albatross Joined Us As We Sailed Towards Twofold Bay

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When the seas are the roughest, the winds are the best for the magnificent Albatross. As we sailed south from Sydney towards Bass Strait, ADAGIO was circled by two types of Albatross: the Black-browed Albatross and the Shy Albatross.

I learned from my Field Guide to Australian Birds that the Black-browed Albatross is identified by its short black brow which gives it a frowning, penetrating expression. The immature bird has a pale gray neck collar and wide, silvery colored stripes the length of its dark underwings.

On the other hand, the Shy Albatross is larger and the feathers on its underwing are white between equal, narrow black edges. The bird is very long winged, with a massive bill. This is the only Albatross to breed in Australian waters and breeds only within the Australasian region. It is commonly seen around Tasmania.

We watched the Albatross utilize the lift and energy of wind across the tall waves of the ocean, soaring effortlessly, rarely flapping a wing. Occasionally a bird would momentarily disappear behind a wave with only a wingtip visible. I understand that these birds are able to essentially latch their outspread wings, so that they utilize no energy holding their wings straight.

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