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Pelicans and petrels

One wingtip drags in the water

I photographed these petrels in the Indian Ocean while sailing from South Africa to India on Lord Nelson in 2013. After leaving Durban, we swung south (way, way south) and east, giving a wide berth to Madagascar and any lurking pirates, before eventually heading northeast, back on track. The weather at 35deg South was not what we expected from the Indian Ocean — grey, chilly, spitting with rain. The bonus was the company of petrels and even albatrosses, following the ship. They never seemed to flap those long wings: a feather lifted here, a wing tilted there. Such effortless flyers. I watched them for hours (frankly, there was little else to do!).

Banking to turn

The pelicans were photographed in Cairns, not quite as exotic a destination as the southern Indian Ocean.

Birds with Long Wingspans is the Bird Weekly theme.