One of the school groups asked me what I missed most being out on the ocean so long. I think they all were thinking it should be TV. In fact, I feel like I’ve got a way better show to watch than any TV show – the outdoor channel! I can spend hours watching the ocean (always hoping for marine mammals). On both shifts, everyone takes a break for watching either the sunrises or sunsets every day. Last night I did spend nearly an hour looking at stars and learning some of the southern hemisphere constellations. But the best show so far has been watching the red-footed boobies hunting for flying fish.
These birds look vaguely prehistoric, with blue beaks, and red webbed feet that are usually tucked into their bodies while they are flying. Their heads twitch so fast, it almost looks like an editing glitch on a video recording. When they hunt, they can either catch the fish as the fish are “flying” above the water, or dive down after them, like a cormorant.
Yesterday, there was one I watched for over an hour. It came so close as it passed from one side of the ship to the other that I thought I could touch it. I am forever grateful to my colleague Dick Norris, who took all these fabulous photos, since it meant I had the luxury of concentrating on the sheer pleasure of lens-free observation. Enjoy as I did.