Sydney Pelagics - The end of an era

To: "'Roger McGovern'" <>, "'birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Sydney Pelagics - The end of an era
From: Tony Palliser <>
Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2013 19:21:48 +1100
Hi Everyone,

It is sad indeed.   I too would like to take this opportunity to thank Hal
for his generosity and helpfulness throughout and wish him all the very
best.   Also thanks to Roger, Steve and all the patrons over the years , the
number of great people I have met, the number of fantastic birds and
cetaceans from the Halicat over the years really is quite remarkable.  I
have so many fond memories it far outweighs my battles with seasickness.
This part of the east coast is clearly one the most important seabird areas
in the world today and as Roger pointed out - it is too important to give up

Thanks again,

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Roger McGovern
Sent: Monday, 7 October 2013 1:41 PM
To: birding-aus
Subject: Sydney Pelagics - The end of an era

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

Roger McGovern


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