The last full day at sea found National Geographic Orion only 125 miles from the Big Island. The day was spent with educational lectures from the natural history staff, a clinic on knot tying and time spent on the bow looking for wildlife. As the ship drew nearer to the islands it passed over some hidden sea mounts that often attracts marine life such as sea birds and larger fish. The day ended with one last open ocean sunset.
National Geographic Orion
We awoke again to gorgeous skies and relatively calm seas. Before breakfast, seabirds were swirling around the ship. What is their motivation for being here? Are they lost? And where might they be on their way to? Well, it’s anyone’s guess what they were actually up to, but needless to say that the birds out here were quite a ways from shore. Yet that is not so abnormal. These days at sea we have spent in the realm of the true seabirds. For these sky dwellers, land is merely a place to lay an egg and little else. Today, those of us on the bow saw birds coming and going from all directions. We saw petrels that nest as near as Hawaii and the Marquesas and as far as Chile and New Zealand. What is it they were doing? Likely seeking out food, or travelling to an area more fruitful to their searching. Seabirds are a challenge to photograph and identify, yet something we are all likely to do tomorrow as we inch closer and closer to our final destination of Hawaii.