A Unique Setting in the South Atlantic

Tristan da Cunha is a remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, where the weather can change in an instant. One of our island's advantages is its location between two major currents: the South Atlantic to the north and the Antarctic Circumpolar to the south. This makes our waters a hotspot for marine life ecosystems with a high abundance of seabirds and mammals, all protected within our ¾ million sq km Marine Protection Zone.

World Ocean Day: A Delayed but Dedicated Celebration

World Ocean Day on June 8, 2024, arrived with less than ideal weather, but our commitment to the ocean remained steadfast. We celebrated slightly later than the rest of the world, proving that it’s never too late to make a positive impact.
We coordinated with the school, and when Friday brought sunny skies, we seized the opportunity for a beach clean-up. Meeting at the school, we walked to Hottentot Beach, ready to make a difference. Equipped with gloves, we paired up and started cleaning.

A Successful Beach Clean-Up

Our efforts yielded at least 11 bags of rubbish, including old shoes, rope, plastic trays, and numerous plastic bottles. Strong winds bring some of this litter from our settlement, but much of it washes ashore from distant places like South America and Asia. We even found bottles with foreign writing. To conclude our day, we each made a pledge to protect our ocean and enjoyed some fun in the sand and beachcombing.

Celebrating World Albatross Day

A week later, on June 19, we celebrated World Albatross Day, honouring the magnificent albatrosses that almost exclusively breed on Tristan da Cunha.

The Albatross Species of Tristan

Tristan Albatross ("Gony")
The largest of our albatrosses, the Tristan Albatross, boasts a wingspan of up to 3.5 meters. It is the third-largest seabird in the world, breeding only within the Tristan archipelago, primarily on Gough Island, with a few pairs on Inaccessible Island.

Yellow-Nosed Albatross ("Molly")
Easily identified by its yellow stripe on a black beak and black wings, the Yellow-Nosed Albatross is a common sight around Tristan. These birds are full migrants but only breed in our archipelago, often nesting on top the base at Tristan.

Sooty Albatross ("Peeoo")
Known for its loud, distinct calls from steep cliff tops, the Sooty Albatross is another resident of Tristan. We have the dark-mantled variety, recognizable by its dark head shading, yellow beak stripe, and white semi-circle above its eye. Unlike the other albatrosses, the Sooty Albatross nests outside Tristan as well.

Raising Awareness and Taking Action

While we are fortunate to witness these majestic birds soaring above us, they face significant threats. The Tristan Albatross chicks suffer from predation by introduced house mice on Gough Island. The Yellow-Nosed Albatross, in particular, struggles with entanglement in fishing lines off the coast of South America. Similarly, the Sooty Albatross faces threats from fishing line entanglements, especially during tuna fishing in the Australian fishing zone.

To raise awareness, the pupils of St. Mary's School learned about these albatrosses and the threats they face. They created a display board and made albatross masks, with the Yellow-Nosed being a favourite.

Sharing Our Stories and Protecting Our Oceans

By sharing our experiences and knowledge, we hope to encourage others to do the same. Together, we can protect and preserve our ocean and its incredible inhabitants. Happy World Ocean and Albatross Day!

Posted in: 

Students wearing their Albatross Masks (c) Maria Swain
Group photo of all rubbish collected (c) Julia Gunther
Group photo of all rubbish collected (c) Julia Gunther
Children Cleaning up the beach (c) Julia Gunther
Children Cleaning up the beach (c) Julia Gunther
Albatrosses & their threats (c) Maria Swain
Albatrosses & their threats (c) Maria Swain

Related News