Port Fairy Boat Trips 2004

Subject: Port Fairy Boat Trips 2004
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 17:38:53 +1000
Dear Birding-Ausers,

I am continuing as organiser for the Port Fairy boat trips through 2003 and
2004, probably as a result of an inate masochistic streak.  (Mike Carter
remains the leader on the boat.)

Normally, a Port Fairy boat trip is organised for the first Sunday of each
month (with some exceptions).  Because of the fickle nature of the weather
in the Southern Ocean resulting in conditions that will be too rough or
dangerous, many trips are postponed to the second Sunday of the month
(again with some exceptions).  If that second trip does not go, the trip
for that month is then cancelled.

Each trip can only accommodate 13 people.  There is a waiting list
established when a trip is fully booked because, for various reasons, we
have people who have to pull out, often at the last moment.  This occurs
particularly if a trip is postponed as many people have already made other
plans for the next weekend.  The cost of the trip is in the order of
$65-80, depending on the number of people on the boat - of course, it is
dearer if we don't fill the boat as the hire cost is divided between the

I have now started taking bookings for the 2004 trips.  As places on the
boat from Port Fairy have been at a premium for the last couple of years, I
expect demand for 2004 to be very high.  Last year, for example, the boat
filled up very quickly for all trips soon after I put the notice on
Birding-Aus in May.  So, please do not expect to be able to get on specific
trips with any degree of confidence.  Some flexibility in sending your
bookings would be much appreciated.  Please also indicate whether you are
prepared to go on a waiting list if you can't get on the trip you want.

The dates for trips in 2004 are as follows.  (If the trip is postponed,
then the second attempt will occur on the date in brackets.)

18 January  (no postponement date)
1 February  (8 February)
14 March  (21 March)
4 April  (18 April)
2 May  (9 May)
6 June  (20 June)
4 July  (11 July)
1 August  (8 August)
5 September  (12 September)
3 October (10 October)
7 November  (14 November)
12 December  (19 December)

When you get on a trip, you have a number of responsibilities.  No later
than a week before the trip date, you are expected to confirm with me that
you are still OK to go.  (If you don't do this, you may lose your place.)
As the weather is the major factor in whether the trip proceeds, you must
contact me on the Friday evening before the trip to confirm that it is
actually on - after 7.30 pm, please.  My contact number at home is 03 9370

If you are a waiting list, I will contact you if a vacancy appears.
However, you can contact me at any time to check whether I expect any
possibility for you to actually get on the boat.

Melbourne people usually travel down to Port Fairy on the Saturday
afternoon and return on Sunday after the boat trip.  I try to arrange rides
for those that need them (especially from Melbourne), although there are no
guarantees.  I can normally arrange comfortable and inexpensive
accommodation in Port Fairy, as well as a Saturday evening meal at a local

For the boat trip, we leave early (between 6 and 7, depending on the
season) and return latish (at about 4).  As well as the obvious binoculars
and cameras, you need to take warm clothes, protection from wet weather,
food and drink and some sort of seasickness prevention medication.  (Many
people have decided not to bother with the latter and have found that it is
a very long day if they are sick.)

What will we see?  That depends on many factors, including the season, the
weather just before the trip and on the day, el Nino / la Nina, whether the
birds are hungry or not ...................... and luck.  But, Port Fairy
is an excellent place for albatrosses, various petrels / storm-petrels /
giant-petrels, several shearwaters and some terns and skuas.

If you have any other queries, please contact me.



N.B.  The remaining 2003 trips are well and truly booked out, but I still
maintain waiting lists for them.  I often get a surprisingly high number of
cancellations, so if you want to be on the 2003 waiting list, please let me

I will not be starting the 2005 bookings until well into 2004.

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