At Sea to Millennium Atoll

May 05, 2018 - National Geographic Orion


Our expedition has begun! After a gorgeous afternoon at Rangiroa we spent the day at sea traveling north towards the nation of Kiribati and our first destination of Millennium Atoll. Our day was filled with presentations preparing us for our experiences to come. Millennium is part of the Southern Line Islands which are some of the most remote islands in the South Pacific. Uninhabited and a vast marine reserve, we are certainly looking forward to our days ahead.

For me, today was a special day. 2018 is the Year of the Bird and today was the International Big Day. Basically, bird enthusiast from all over the world try to see as many birds as possible in 24 hours. I braved rain, endless cappuccinos, and a giant jar of chocolate chip cookies to sit on the bridge and bow all day to watch for birds. With a deep, warm, nutrient poor ocean around us, birds were not abundant. However, many good sightings were spotted including shearwaters, petrels, terns, and boobies. One major rarity popped up, though it was a bit hard to get excited about. A gull!  Franklin’s gull breeds in North America and winters in South America, and is quite rare in these waters, but we had one follow the ship today. Overall, a very great day for us bird nerds.

Tomorrow we shall arrive at Millennium Atoll and certainly thousands more birds await.

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About the Author

Mike Greenfelder

Undersea Specialist

Mike learned early on that the best way to escape Ohio was to become a marine biologist.  During college at Wittenberg University he attended a semester at Duke University's Marine Lab — that time only confirmed his love for all things oceanic and maritime.  After graduation, Mike promptly moved to Catalina Island in California where he taught marine biology to school kids.  Since 1999, Mike has been working and traveling chasing his three loves: marine critters, photography, and birds.

About the Videographer

Rodrigo Moterani

Video Chronicler

Rodrigo Moterani was born in Brazil in 1976. After spending his teen years playing with camcorders and VCRs, Rodrigo ended up working in the field of television journalism and video production in his home country. He graduated with a degree in communications in 1997.

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