Poets have called them “gypsies of the sea” and “black lightning.” Some sailors see them as omens of bad luck, while ancient sailors are said to have named them for the walking-on-water apostle Peter. Other seamen know them as Mother Carey’s Chickens, probably a corruption of Mater Cara, or “Dear Virgin Mother,” who protects sailors at sea.
Small as a swallow, gutsy as a gorilla, and quick as a shooting star, the plucky storm petrel patrols sea-lanes tirelessly, proving to be as fascinating to the eye as they’ve been, for years, to the mind.
One of the most common seabirds in the world, storm petrels of one species or another are found from Antarctica to the Arctic, throughout the tropics, and in the North Atlantic. Storm (or stormy) petrels were named because the best time to see them is during storms at sea. In fact, in some native legends in the Arctic, the story’s storm was actually caused by the petrel. Other folktales say the birds are the spirits of sea captains who mistreated their crews and are doomed to spend eternity flying over the sea.
Storm petrels are probably most active during storms because that’s when seas get frisky, frothing up and providing the most abundant buffet for these surface feeders. They follow groups of whales or seals close to the surface, feeding on squid, plankton, and small fish that are found in wave-tops and troughs. Unlike many seabirds, storm petrels are not very good divers. They find their prey by smell, returning to land only to breed and tend their nestlings. With the ocean’s surface as their main stage, their show-and-tell provides a lively show for seagoing bird watchers.
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RIDING THE STORM
THE BEST TIME FOR BIRDERS TO SEE THE FASCINATING STORM PETREL IS DURING A STORM. IN FACT, SOME LEGENDS CLAIM THE SEABIRD CAUSED THE STORM.
APPRECILOVING THE HARMONY
DIVE DEEP INTO RASTAFARI PHILOSOPHY AND TRADITIONS AT THE RASTAFARI INDIGENOUS VILLAGE.
SENSES WORKING OVERTIME
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A DEEP DIVE INTO OCEANIA EATS
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THE PEARL OF THE ADRIATIC
SIX WAYS TO SPEND TWO DAYS IN DUBROVNIK
EARTH AND INSPIRATION
The organic forms of Cocoa Vintage ceramic jewelry bring life to your look.
Music to our ears! The entire Crystal River Cruises fleet — Crystal Bach, Crystal Debussy, Crystal Mahler, and Crystal Ravel — has earned Green Award certification.
BEYOND THE BED
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS CABIN FEVER WHEN YOU’RE STAYING IN THESE AT-SEA ACCOMMODATIONS.
Got Bear Mitts?
FOR EXTREME WARMTH, BEAR MITTS ARE THE WAY TO GO. CONSIDER TURNING THAT OLD BEAR HIDE INTO SOMETHING FUNCTIONAL & INTERESTING.
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PADDLE THE DESERT
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ARCTIC TORTURE TEST
Driving the 2020 Alcan 5000 Winter Rally in a ’20 GMC Sierra 1500 AT4
Solo race to the Arctic
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MY MID-LIFE CRISIS AS A RUSSIAN SAILOR
For a book project about 16th-century polar explorer William Barents, ANDREA PITZER needed to reach the remote Arctic island where he and his men came to grief. She booked passage on an expeditionary boat out of Murmansk, then headed north on a trip marked by unforgettable scenery,unexpected loss, and wild magic that changed her life.
WINTER AT 66° N
AN ORDINARY BOAT CAN ENABLE EXTRAORDINARY THINGS.SKIER AND SAILOR JUHO KARHU HAS SPENT TWO WINTERS IN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE ON BOARD HIS BENETEAU IDYLLE.
All From Camp
Do-it-yourself Alaskan arctic bear hunt amongst friends. You can do a lot right from camp.
Why Alaskans Can't Get Alaskan Natural Gas
A plan to tap reserves on the far-flung northern coast of Alaska is expected to produce about 80 million tons of liquid natural gas (LNG) over the next 20 years—but thanks to a protectionist shipping law, it’s likely that Americans won’t have access to a single drop.
ARCTIC TRUCKS. MARS ROVER