14 Apr 2018

14 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Sixteen: At Sea From Tristan Da Cunha To St Helena

Today was the first of four full days at sea between Tristan da Cunha & St Helena. It was an ominous start to the day looking at the weather. Fortunately, the weather picked up during the day.
Early morning view from the Plancius
We were now at the start of the warmer tropical waters. At dawn, the sea temperature was 22 degrees which compared with 20 degrees at Tristan da Cunha, 16 degrees at Gough Island, 12 degrees for the two days before Gough Island and a mere 3 degrees around South Georgia & for the first two days after leaving South Georgia. The warmer waters & being back in deep ocean meant we were destined to see low numbers of Seabirds during the day. My personal counts were a single Yellow-nosed Albatross, 2 Sooty Albatrosses, 8+ Great-winged Petrels, 15+ Soft-plumaged Petrels, 15+ Spectacled Petrels & a lone Storm-petrel sp. It was the last day I was to see most of these species with only a couple of Great-winged Petrels & Spectacled Petrels lasting for a final day.
Soft-plumaged Petrel: The last day I was to see any of these great Pterodromas
Spectacled Petrel: I only saw two more on the following day
As well as the last of the cold Southern ocean Seabirds, we saw the first Cory's Shearwater cross the bows in the late afternoon. It was the only one we saw until we left St Helena & started heading for Ascension Island, so was well away from the main Cory's Shearwater waters.
Cory's Sheawater: The extend of black in the wing tip makes this a Cory's Shearwater. There is a lot less white in the outer primaries of Scopoli's Shearwaters. I will come back to the separation of these two subspecies later in one of the future Odyssey Posts
Although we didn't see any Cetaceans during the day, we did manage to see a Blue Shark, as well as, another Shark sp.
Blue Shark: It was probably only 20 metres off the side of the Plancius
Blue Shark: I saw a few Sharks during the trip, but few could be identified. Generally, all I saw was a dorsal or tail fin breaking the surface & on several occasions these were also at some distance in front of the Plancius & they had disappeared underwater before we got closer. However, we did manage to identify some of the Sharks seen & I'll come back to them in a later Post