About the Albatross
Although this doesn’t pertain to whales I thought I’d mention something about these magnificent creatures. These birds would always follow the ship when I worked on Oregon State University Research Ship “Wecoma”. If you have not seen an albatross they can be a spectacular site, they are master gliders with the wind. These birds have the longest wingspan of any bird, up to 11 feet.
The wandering albatross is the biggest of some two dozen different species. Albatrosses use their wingspans to ride the ocean winds and glide for hours without rest. They can also float on the sea’s surface, though this makes them vulnerable to predators.
These birds can live up to 50 years of age, they are rarely seen on land and gather only to breed, at which time they form large colonies on remote islands. Young albatrosses can fly within three to ten months, depending on the species, but then leave the land behind for five to ten years until they themselves reach sexual maturity.
Albatrosses drink salt water, as do some other sea birds and feed mainly on squid or fish; they are very familiar to mariners who go to sea because they sometimes follow ships looking for handouts. Albatrosses have a special place in maritime lore and superstition, being followed by an albatross is generally considered an omen of good luck. (Not that I’m superstitious or anything, but).