Sydney Pelagics - The end of an era

To: Roger McGovern <>
Subject: Sydney Pelagics - The end of an era
From: Ed Williams <>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2013 15:59:51 +1100
Hi Roger,

Very sad news indeed - I'll have many a happy memory from onboard, from losing 
my "pelagic birding virginity" (so to speak) through many a lifer to finally 
culminating in that Barau's Petrel earlier this year.

Since moving down to Melbourne I have really missed being able to do a Pelagic 
without hours of driving or catching flight... (you East-coasters are so lucky!)

Here's hoping there another "Halicat" out there for all the Sydney folk.

Best wishes to Hal in his retirement too...


Ed Williams

On 07/10/2013, at 1:41 PM, "Roger McGovern" <> wrote:

> It is with some sadness that I have to inform birding-aussers that the MV
> Halicat has operated its last pelagic sea watch expedition from Sydney. Hal
> Epstein has sold the vessel and we understand that it will be moving away
> from Sydney on a permanent basis. The Halicat has been operating these trips
> for the best part of 20 years and I have been extremely fortunate to have
> been part of that operation for all of that time except when I was living in
> Perth in 1998-9. 
> The scheduled pelagic trip on Saturday October 12th will proceed as usual in
> order to honour the bookings already in place and we will be using the MV
> Lormar for the day - it is a displacement vessel with a capacity of about 20
> passengers. Since this trip next Saturday is almost fully subscribed, it is
> planned to run the November 9th trip on the same vessel, if there is
> sufficient interest.
> There are no arrangements in place to my knowledge for the continuation of
> the Sydney pelagic tradition and I have to say that, having reached a
> 'certain age' in life, I think that the future of seabird watching off
> Sydney should be in younger hands than mine. We have been very fortunate in
> having Hal as the key part of providing the vessel for these trips as he was
> prepared to go out even when numbers were not sufficient to make it
> financially viable and the Halicat was an exceptional platform for
> observation. A future organiser will have the task of finding a suitable
> vessel and figuring out how to handle the financial risk of the somewhat
> fickle Sydney market.
> Hal, Steve Anyon-Smith, David James and I would be more than happy to assist
> anyone trying to get something organised and to pass on all our knowledge of
> boats, bookings, locations, sourcing berley material, and the like. Finally,
> a big thank you to all those birders who have supported the Sydney pelagic
> in the past. I really hope that we can get an alternative operation running
> off Sydney - it is too important to our knowledge of seabirds to give up on
> it.
> Cheers
> Roger McGovern
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