SUMMARY: A relatively quiet trip in fair conditions. The best thing
about this trip was that it provided the long delayed resumption of Port
Fairy trips. After our boat owner recovered from being ill for about 6
months from March last year, we have been trying to get out since
September. All the subsequent trips have been cancelled because of
continuing bad weather. The main highlights were a HUMPBACK WHALE and
up to 5 BLUE WHALES with good numbers of WHITE-CHINNED PETRELS and
GREY-BACKED STORM-PETRELS and a COMMON DIVING-PETREL, a BULLER'S
ALBATROSS and 2 POMARINE JAEGERS.
OBSERVERS: Peter Crabtree, Peter Grenfell, Brian Johnston, Peter
Lansley, Frank Pierce, Ray Schultz, Paul Sutherland, David Torr, Inka
Veltheim, Wendy McWilliams, Ray McWilliams, Chris Lester (organiser).
WEATHER: A fine and sunny day. The light was always good with excellent
visibility. It was pleasantly cool. The wind was NE at 10 knots in the
morning and freshened to 15 knots in the afternoon.
SEA: Small chop of 1 m early with 0.5 m swell which stayed fairly
constant through the day. There was a bit of spray on the way back with
the NE wind.
ACTIVITY: Sailed at 07.00 EDST from Port Fairy (PF), which is at 38º 23'
18"S 142º 14' 30"E. We went out on our usual course (diverting three
times to look at whales and a pod of dolphins) before arriving at our
first berley stop at 10.00 in 240 fathoms @ 38º 48.6'S 141º 53.2'E.
Birds were slow to gather at our shark-liver and fish berley. At 11.00
we moved to deeper water. On reaching about 460 fathoms at 38º 52.4'S
141º 49.3'E (which is about 38 nm from PF), we berleyed from 11.20 to
12.00. Then from 12.30 to 12.55 we again berleyed, now at 38º 48.2'S
141º 47.0'E where the depth was 130 fathoms. Returning to PF, we briefly
cruised portions of the western and northern shores of Lady Julia Percy
Island (LJPI) from 02.50 to 03.20. Docked at 16.15.
HUMPBACK WHALE: 1 halfway to the shelf (we tried to catch up to it but
it outswam us) .
BLUE WHALE: 1 spouted a bit further out on the way out (we also tried
to catch up to this one but it also outswam us) and 3 or 4 spouting
together on the way in.
Common Dolphin: Two pods of at least 50 in total halfway to the shelf.
Australian Fur Seals: Only 2-3 singles away from LJPI, where there were
BIRDS: 23 species of seabird observed beyond the river mouth indicated
fairly good diversity. Albatross numbers were very deficient. In fact,
all species were in low numbers except the Storm-Petrels. Unless noted
otherwise, all listed below were near or beyond the shelf break (i.e.
pelagic). Highlights are in capitals.
Little Penguin: 1 inshore and 2 ashore on LJPI.
COMMON DIVING-PETREL: 1.
Giant Petrel sp: 1.
Great-winged Petrel: 4 (3). 3 were race gouldi and 1 macroptera.
Fairy Prion: 1.
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL: 10 (4).
Sooty Shearwater: 5 (2).
Short-tailed Shearwater: 50 (2). Very small numbers.
Fluttering Shearwater: 8 (2) inshore.
Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 10 (6).
GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL: 25 (15).
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 100 (30). Large numbers as we approached the
shelf; smaller numbers at shelf.
Wandering Albatross: 2 (1).
Black-browed Albatross: 30 (15). About half each of melanophrys and
Shy Albatross: 30 (8). Race cauta.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 4 (3).
BULLER'S ALBATROSS: 1.
Australasian Gannet: 100. Mostly inshore.
Black-faced Cormorant: 13. 12 of which were on LJPI.
POMARINE JAEGER: 2. 1 pelagic and 1 inshore.
Kelp Gull: 10+ on LJPI, with 2 juv.
Silver Gull: 50+ on LJPI.
Crested Tern: 45. 40 on LJPI, 5 offshore & pelagic
Also on LJPI:
White-faced Heron: 1.
Nankeen Kestrel: 1.
Sooty Oystercatcher: 4.
Common Starling: 10
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