Lazy Birds

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Dunedin, NZ

The Kiwi Roadtrip continues!

As long as you don’t mind the pressing need to bundle up in order to explore a land listed as “one of the closest to Antarctica” it’s sometimes hard to decide which is more magnificent, the countryside around Dunedin or the immaculate buildings in the city itself:

Aside from penguins and the great castle Kiwi (remember, the whole reason we drove all this way) the outskirts of Dunedin also play host to the only easily accessible colony of albatross in the world.  Being as albatrosses (alabatroi? Mouseses?) have a long and dignified history of bringing good luck to the sailors who see them (and dropping the hammer on the ones who kill them) a visit to the Royal Albatross Centre (yes, they spell it that way) to pay tribute to these kings of the air seemed a prudent move.  We didn’t count on their nosy, noisy riff raff neighbors crashing the party though.

You have probably heard bits and pieces about these birds, like they can “fly a long way” and they have “really long wings” but that doesn’t cover the half of it.  Their wing span is as long Greg is tall, or longer.  Notice anything unusual about how the albatrosses were flying in the video?  They don’t flap their wings unless they absolutely have to.  Albatrosses are the master gliders of the avian world and due to their ability to conserve energy (read: be lazy).  They are not only capable of flying in their sleep but they have also been known to cruise across the Pacific from one continent to the next and back!  As we found out, that’s a lot longer distance with a lot less emergency landing zones than most airline companies would like you to know about!

And mother told you laziness would make you amount to nothing…

This slacker lifestyle is also the root cause for Albatrosses being idolized as omens of good luck at sea.  Lazy glider birds ride wind currents so an albatross in the area typically means some wind is on its way.  This, in the golden age of tall ships, directly translated to, “we’ll be able to get back to land before the drinking water runs out.”

While the Albatross is revered as an omen of good luck, there are other birds that are looked on with slightly less favor by us sailing types…

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, 3-day delays for wine tastings, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out at!

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