PORT FAIRY (PF), VIC, PELAGIC
TRIP REPORT, 4 APRIL 2003
Lester (organiser), David Burren, Neville Bartlett, Bob & Sadhana Cook,
Rosemary Lester, Richard Loyn, Peter Menkhorst, Grant Penrhyn, Frank Pierce,
Jennifer Spry, David Stickney &
Mike Carter (leader).
anticyclone was centred over Bass Strait. Thin cloud cover at times but a mostly
clear sky. Therefore bright with excellent visibility. Cool to mild. NE wind to
5 knots inshore at first rising to 15 knots well offshore and veering to E.
10-12 knots inshore as we came in.
SEA: Slight on a
low SW swell inshore at first, rising to choppy on a low to moderate swell offshore. A little
choppy on a low swell inshore as we came in.
So a comfortable
ride with little spray going out enabling some to ride on the bow. A bit wobbly
on the shelf and some spray protection required coming in. No-one sick.
ACTIVITY: Sailed at
07.00 EST (sunrise c. 06.50). Headed out on a COG of 204º at 13.4 Kts. Inshore,
the sea was almost barren. Only singles of 4 bird species were seen in the first
hour. This surprised our crew because earlier in the week there had been ‘acres
of Fluttering Shearwaters’. Then at 08.00 at 38º33’S 142º09’E in 28 fathoms we
encountered two Pygmy BLUE WHALES. We enjoyed these for half an hour before
heading on out. Further offshore the bird-life increased with Fairy Prions
becoming particularly abundant with smaller numbers of shearwaters, Gannets and
White-faced Storm-Petrels. We crossed the shelf break (100 fathoms = 180m) at
10.00 and continued into deeper water.
Between 10.10 and 13.15 we stopped and berleyed with shark liver at four
locations within 5 km of 38º49.2’S 141º52.2’E. Initially, bird numbers here were
Coming in, we again passed through large
congregations of Prions and Storm-Petrels in offshore waters. We cruised off the
western and northern shores of Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI) from 15.15 to
15.45. Docked at 16.40.
MAMMALS: One of two
PYGMY BLUE WHALES together put on a wonderful display. 1,000’s of Australian Fur
Seals were at LJPI and perhaps 5 at sea.
species of seabird beyond the river mouth indicated good diversity and while
most were in very low numbers, two species, Fairy Prion and White-faced
Storm-Petrel were abundant. An exceptionally high number of BULLER’S
ALBATROSSES. The JAEGER’s were heading east apparently on passage. Highlights
are in capitals. Unless noted otherwise, those listed below were near or beyond
the shelf break (i.e. pelagic).
Penguin: 4. 1 offshore, 3 on
Petrel: Only 4 (1). 3 nominate race, 1 gouldi.
FAIRY PRION: c.
2,000, mostly offshore, but 10 pelagic & 10 inshore.
Shearwater: 1 briefly seen offshore as we came in.
Shearwater: 100 (40). 5 pelagic, 80 offshore, 15 inshore.
Shearwater: 15 (6) inshore.
Albatross: 1 stage 4, [exulans] remained aloof.
Albatross: nom. race, 16 (4). 8 off, 3 in. 12 ads, 3 sub-ads, 1
impavida, 25 (20). 22 adults, 3 sub-ads.
cauta: 40 (15). 10 offshore, 5 inshore. 25 ads, 10 sub-ads, 5
Albatross: 12 (4). 6 offshore, 4 inshore. 10 adults, 2
(S): 11 (4). Excellent views at close range.
SOOTY ALBATROSS: 1
Storm-Petrel: 2 (1).
STORM-PETREL: 1 passed briefly.
STORM-PETREL: 130 (50). 6 pelagic, 100 offshore, 24 inshore.
Gannet: c.120. 8 inshore, 100 offshore, 12 pelagic incl. 2
Cormorant: 2 ads. on LJPI.
Arctic Jaeger: 3
(1). 2 offshore, 1 inshore.
2 (1). 1 offshore.
Kelp Gull: 20 on
Silver Gull: 50 on
Crested Tern: 16
(4). 4 inshore, 7 offshore & 5 pelagic.