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PONDER Blog

A Warm Welcome

Chelsea Behymer

My first sunrise back at sea, I was only hoping for a little salty air to calm the usual nerves that rise up before I get up on stage to share the things I have learned about the ocean. After a few rounds of surveying the water beneath the open decks, I retreated from the wind to find coffee and a window where I could still watch for signs of life. I'd barely sat down when a massive black and white version of the familiar form of inspiration for everything I'm here to do swooped in front of the glass.

 Modern dinosaur. Victoria coast, Australia.

Modern dinosaur. Victoria coast, Australia.

Seabirds have fascinated me since the first time I was far enough away from land to be surprised by their presence. Now that I understand just what they're capable of and adapted to do, I am especially thrilled when I can see them in their element. And even more so when it's a species I've never seen before. This Shy Albatross was a first for me, and dwarfed the Laysan and Black-footed that have dominated my pelagic seabird experiences in the North Pacific. 

Whether the sighting calmed my nerves or just overwhelmed them with feelings of excitement, it worked. The rest of the day was filled with new seabird sightings, including several more albatross. Even a large pod of Common Dolphins took a break from feeding with the birds to greet the ship, their acrobatics seemingly an attempt to challenge their namesake.

 Not-so-common Dolphins. Victoria coast, Australia.

Not-so-common Dolphins. Victoria coast, Australia.

Here in the Tasman Sea, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Indian Ocean, life abounds!