On witnessing an albatross feeding
To witness a young albatross open wide
its translucent, newborn throat,
open the soft, pink shell to its mother,
to the contents of the sea she carried
in her body for thousands of miles,
for over twenty million years – to watch,
today, the chick wholly embrace
the amber-colored squid oil
and cloaked shards of plastic,
to see it all slip down in an act
of ancient swallowing – is to witness
eons of trust absorbed into nature’s gut.
And for our own trusting throats
defended by lips, teeth and taste buds,
we evolved to sweeten what poisons us.
Jan Vozenilek takes you on a bike ride around Midway Island. Here you will get to see just how many Albatrosses nest on this little island.
To view the exact bicycle route from this video, you can download the Google Earth KML file here: BIKE RIDE – GOOGLE EARTH
Music by Graham Ord featuring Tim Stewart
Chief from the album Waiting
Brace your self for an awful discovery : four shards of plastic inside a baby Albatross who we found dead on it’s nest.
Although it is only February, Spring has arrived for the albatross on Midway. It’s birthing season and hundreds of thousands of chicks are hatching over the next two weeks on every available square meter of island. It’s an ecstatic time and we’ve spent our first few days photographing and filming the cuteness, buoyed by the sheer, bubbling abundance of chicks breathing into the world for the first time. And among all the nests rustling with new life, the juvenile albatross dance their courtship routines, clapping, clattering, popping, cracking and whistling in a ’round the clock celebration complete with the sounds of fireworks.
We are caught up in all this lushness and fluff. It is almost as if the plastic horror has vanished. Barely a bottle cap or toothbrush can be spotted among all the green growth. In fact, plastic carried here in the bellies of albatross in years past (5 tons per year by Fish & Wildlife estimations) still remains but has gone underground. Grass and weeds have grown up, sand and soil have shifted, covering much of the evidence. But today: a dead chick curled in its nest, a few days old, at most. Inside its stomach we found four shards of plastic large enough to block tiny organs. Large enough that on a human scale it would be equal to eating a few credit cards for dinner. We were shocked to discover that plastic made up one of the first meals for this chick, and saddened to realize what this means for the other chicks just coming into the world on Midway.
Chris lifts an albatross chick back into it’s nest
Chris takes us for a walk, outside our house on Midway Island
We’ve been taking lots of behind the scenes photos, but with the limited time we have and the very slow internet, uploading them to the blog is taking far too much time. We’ve been uploading them all to our Facebook page under Midway Journey.
Here are the direct links to the photos – these should be accessible even if you are not on Facebook.
Day 1 – Victoria
Day 2 – Jan
Day 3 – Jan
A check in from Chris Jordan on our first morning on Midway Island
From Honolulu to Midway – this short video shows the process of how we get our selves and all our gear to Midway Island