Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Helping hand for Andrew McAuley

It was comforting to see that Andrew McAuley’s website has been updated. I and I don’t doubt many others would have liked the opportunity to attend his memorial service.

It was fascinating to see the photo of the bird pushing Andrew along on his quest. We’ve been trying to figure out what bird it is – I thought perhaps a booby or albatross. My brother, Rob, is a tourism resource consultant back in NZ and lives with his family in Nelson at the top of the South Island. I asked him what he thought it was: “Could be either a royal albatross or a southern giant petrel. Can't see its beak properly, but my bet would be the royal albatross."

He also sent me a photo he took last year of a wandering albatross near White Island. A bit blurry (they were catching some big fish), but it has a beak. White Island’s one of NZ’s two active volcanoes, off the east coast of the North Island – I’ve had some great diving trips there, but that’s another story.

The only mainland breeding colony for any albatross species found in the southern hemisphere is found at NZ’s Royal Albatross Colony at Taiaroa Head, on the tip of the Otago Peninsula on the east coast of the South Island. It’s just a bit lower than the same line that Andrew was paddling across the Tasman.

Part of Andrew’s enjoyment of the trip, and all his trips, must have been the wildlife he encountered along the way, but probably closer to both the Tasmanian and New Zealand coasts on this crossing. And albatrosses can cover huge distances, so his shot above could have been taken anywhere.

Can you imagine Andrew's delight when this albatross came to nudge him along?


Michael said...

It's a pity that we will learn so little about Andrew's trip and what he experienced along the way. In a way the trip parallels Sir John Franklin's last voyage into Canada's Northwest Passage in many ways as Franklin had also left Tasmania, where he'd been governor, only a few years prior to his arctic voyage and like Andrew, mysteriously disappeared at sea.

Kristen said...

Entirely agree, Michael. I was so looking forward to his book and learning all about his mindset and experiences and what gear worked and didn't.

GooGooGwoopa said...

Thank you for putting this site up.
I came across the photo of the bird entitled "The final photos of Andrew McAuley.jpg" in some random index of pictures.

Being a land-locked American I had no clue who Andrew McAuley was and was curious if he had come to his end at the hand of a bird.

Chrome Neelson said...