FROM 2-14. Cape Town-Kerguelens

Birds and all that jazz

Time for a bit of description. 2 magnificent albatrosses – Snowy, NZ or Tristan – huge, and as they scythe towards you all you see is the razor slash of the dihedral curve of their wings, speckled leading edges, yellow dot of a beak, two tiny eyes all set in a circle of white in the middle of that huge curve. They rock slightly when it it really windy, then bank away – white underparts, fine black edges. Sometimes they bank the other way – black wings, white splashes on the inners, white, mottled shoulders and back, black tail – exhilarating.

Plus a couple of much smaller black browed and another slightly bigger, very similar but with a grey head. White chins and prions in crowds.

And diving petrels – lovely – little heads bobbing around ahead of the boat, they peer at us and there's a blur, instant glimpse of upended rump, widening circle of ripples and they surface 20 metres away and look at us again. Fun.

The sun a pale glow through the fogbanks – occasional patches of blue, rolling fog all around, filtered light. Deep greenish blue icy sea. Berri placid, gentle rolling, whizzer moaning at the back as it harnesses the gentle breeze and fires wiggly amps at the batteries.

Wouldn't be in the big smoke for quids…

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