Pelagic Trip Report – 3rd March 2019
Ruth Brozek, Helen
Cunningham, Karen Dick, Darryl Eggins, Sonja Frei, Mona Loofs-Samorzewski
(report compiler), Lauren Roman, Richard Taylor, Carolyn Upston and Els
Wakefield. Paul Brooks, the trip organiser, was unable to attend, with Karen
and Els in charge of the trip on the day.
skippered by John Males, with deckhand Adam Mackintosh.
Quite a rough and choppy day, with the
changeable winds and rainy, gloomy skies making for difficult viewing
conditions. Diversity was low, with only 20 species seen over the course of the
day and, unusually for an Eaglehawk pelagic, there were no great Albatross. Disappointingly,
the Brown Booby sighted on the previous day was not relocated. The only
highlight was one brief view of a Soft-plumaged Petrel at the second berley
Activity and conditions:
at port with a reduced boat-load due to the late withdrawal of two participants
after yesterday’s pelagic. Weather was mild, humid and cloudy with no wind when
we left port at 0705. In response to the Brown Booby sighting on the previous
day, we headed straight south with the intention of checking out Cape Huay
where the only previous sighting in 2011 had occurred. There was a low NE swell
of approx 1 m, which increased at times to 2 m, a gentle ESE wind, and light
rain started to fall. The presence of fog and sea mist from Fortescue Bay south
made visibility difficult, so we thoroughly checked the birds on Cheverton Rock
and The Hippolytes instead of motoring further south.
Once past The
Hippolytes at 0816 we set our course slightly north of east, experiencing
intermittent rain, continuing light ESE winds and ENE swell of up to 2 m. We
arrived at the shelf break at 0923 for our first berley over 290 fathoms.
Although the swell remained much the same, the shifting and strengthening winds
– from ESE to NW to N and increasing to 25 kn – resulted in quite choppy seas,
and we were pushed south as we laid the slick.
At 1020 we
decided to try our luck further north, and the clouds broke briefly at 1047 to
allow a ray of sunshine through, but otherwise both sea and sky were uniformly
gloomy grey. We set our second berley at 1053 over 400 fathoms, water temperature
was relatively high at 18.7°C, the swell remained from the NE at a consistent 1 m, and
winds were from the NE varying from 15 to 25 kn. At 1122 we decided to call it
a day, having drifted quite far south under strengthening winds and with one
passenger dangerously seasick. With a 1 m sea on top of the 1 m swell and
continuing NE 20-25 kn winds, the trip back was quite wet and choppy, and we
returned to port at 1310. Two seasick.
Fur Seal sp.:
7 on Cheverton Rock and 11 on The Hippolytes in the morning.
Mako Shark: 1
seen briefly by one observer in pelagic waters at 1015 hours.
Birds (IOC v 8.1 – max at one time in
Storm Petrel: 2 (1) pelagic.
Petrel: 3 (2) pelagic.
Storm Petrel: 28 (20) pelagic.
Albatross: 28 (9) 4 inshore in the morning, 6 offshore, 15 at the two berley
stops and 3 on our return. Quite a few were moulting.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 1 (1) pelagic, and followed us into offshore waters.
Albatross: 10 (4) 1 inshore, 4 offshore, 4 pelagic and 1 inshore in the
Fairy Prion: 3
(1) 1 offshore and 2 pelagic.
Petrel: 3 (3) pelagic.
Petrel: 1 pelagic.
PETREL: 1 at the second berley stop.
Petrel: 2 (2) pelagic.
Shearwater: 2 (1) pelagic.
Shearwater: 1400 (100) approx 200 inshore, 150 offshore, 750 pelagic and 300
offshore in the afternoon.
Gannet: 183 (90) 143 inshore, 4 offshore, 1 pelagic, and 35 inshore in the
Cormorant: 216 (200) 211 inshore in the morning, with the bulk on The
Hippolytes, and 5 inshore in the afternoon.
Sea-eagle: 2 (1) 1 adult inshore in the morning, 1 immature with prey in its
talons, inshore in the afternoon.
57 (15) 36 inshore, 4 offshore, 17 inshore in the afternoon.
3 (2) on Cheverton Rock and the Hippolytes, 1 immature.
Kelp Gull: 54 (20) 43 inshore in the morning, 11 inshore in the
Tern: 30 (20) 27 inshore in the morning, 3 inshore in the afternoon.
Jaeger sp.: 1
seen briefly by one observer inshore in the afternoon.