SUMMARY: An eventful trip, rugged at times, but with a good variety of
interesting fauna. The main highlight was a COOKS PETREL, photographed by Rohan
Clarke. This is the third we've seen here. I've just heard that both previous
records, on 1 December 2002 and 1 February 2004, have been accepted by BARC and
are therefore the first confirmed sight records for Australia. Other highlights
included a SPERM WHALE, an obliging WHITE-HEADED PETREL and a BLUE SHARK
circling the boat. The latter was caught.
OBSERVERS: Rod Bird, Rohan Clarke, Bob & Sadhana Cook, Peter Crabtree, Giles
Daubeney, Brian Johnston, Frank Pierce, Phil & Lyn Tubb, Andrew Wells, & Mike
Carter (leader & reporter).
WEATHER: A narrow (high-pressure) ridge was centred over western Victoria with
troughs on each side. It was mild, cloudless with excellent visibility.
Initially inshore, we had a N breeze of 5 Kts which gradually veered to the SE
and strengthened throughout the day. Offshore it reached 15-20 Kts beyond the
shelf before moderating a little but by mid-afternoon, as we travelled home to
PF from Lady Julia Percy Island (LJPI), we were subjected to a near 20 Kt SE
SEA: Initially slight (< 0.5 m) on a low, 1.0 m, SW swell inshore, 1.5 m
offshore, but wind induced wave height increased to perhaps 1.5 m offshore and
again inshore in late afternoon. Actually it was quite a pleasant ride going
out as the wind and waves were on the stern but whilst stationary berleying on
the shelf there was some instability and substantial rolls. Also the journey
coming in from pelagic waters to LJPI was reasonably comfortable as by then the
wind was from the SE with a following component. No observations were possible
on the last leg from LJPI to PF as the boat was shrouded in a curtain of
spray. No one was sick.
ACTIVITY: Sailed from Port Fairy (38º23'18"S 142º14'30"E) at 07.05 EDST. We
went out on our usual course of 205º at 14.0 Kts, our journey to pelagic waters
being uninterrupted until at 09.30 we stopped in 258 fathoms @ 38º49.0'S
141º53.4'E. At first birds were slow to appear but gradually our shark-liver
and fish berley attracted a variety of birds. At 10.15 we moved to deeper
water. On reaching 38º52.1'S 141º49.3'E, at the edge of a deep canyon or
'hole', we berleyed from 10.45 to 11.50. Then from 12.15 to 13.00 we again
berleyed, now at 38º48.5'S 141º47.9'E where the depth is 160 fathoms. Enroute
back to PF, we cruised the western and northern shores of LJPI. Docked at
SPERM WHALE: At least one over the 600 fathom 'hole' downwind of 38º52.1'S
Common Dolphin: Two pods, each of c.10, were where krill coloured the water
around the 36 fathom depth at 38º40.0'S 142º01.3'E.
Australian Fur Seals: Only 2-3 singles away from LJPI where there were
BIRDS: 24 species (26 taxa) of seabird observed beyond the river mouth
indicated about average diversity. Unless noted otherwise, all listed below
were near or beyond the shelf break (i.e. pelagic). Highlights are in capitals.
Little Penguin: 3. 2 ashore @ LJPI & 1 inshore.
N. GIANT PETREL: 2 (2) juvs.
Great-winged Petrel: 120 (60). Most were race gouldi but nominate macroptera
seen. Normally not in shelf waters, first seen at 55 fathoms with 7 from
there to the shelf break. 30, attracted by unused berley slopping overboard
from its container, followed us in, some to LJPI.
WHITE-HEADED PETREL: 1 came to the berley at the stern.
COOK'S PETREL: 1 showed itself well albeit briefly.
Fairy Prion: 4 (2).
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL: 2 (1) very photogenic.
Flesh-footed Shearwater: 35 (10). 5 inshore, 10 offshore & 20 pelagic.
Sooty Shearwater: 2 (1).
Short-tailed Shearwater: 260 (200). 230 inshore, 20 offshore & 10 pelagic.
Fluttering Shearwater: 2 (1) inshore.
Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 2 (1).
GREY-BACKED STORM-PETREL: 1.
White-faced Storm-Petrel: 1
Wandering Albatross: 11 (6) all gibsoni, stages 1(3), 3(1), 4(3), 5(2) & 6(2).
One was banded metal on left leg & black darvic on right inscribed O8A.
S. ROYAL ALBATROSS: 2 (1).
Black-browed Albatross: 18 (7). Melanophrys: 17. 3 inshore, 1 off & 14 pelagic.
16 sub-ads & 1 adult. Impavida: 1 sub-adult.
Shy Albatross cauta: 35 (10). 3 inshore, 12 off & 20 pel. 15 sub-ads & 20 ads.
Yellow-nosed Albatross: 10 (3). All sub-adults. 2 inshore, 2 off & 6 pelagic.
Australasian Gannet: 140 (30). 40 inshore, 100 off & 1 pelagic.
Black-faced Cormorant: 11 on LJPI.
KELP GULL: 35 all ages, on LJPI.
Silver Gull: 51. 50 on LJPI, some sitting on nests & 1 inshore.
Crested Tern: 36. 30 on LJPI, 4 inshore & 2 pelagic
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