Coral Sea Seabird Cruise, December 2006

To: <>
Subject: Coral Sea Seabird Cruise, December 2006
From: "Simon Mustoe" <>
Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2006 21:26:32 +1100

Coral Sea Seabird, Whale and Dolphin Cruise

Several spaces are still available for the Coral Sea Island scientific expedition, departing Mackay Queensland on the 11 December 2006 and returning on 20 December 2006. This 9-day cruise with Tura Charters ( will cost $2,495.00 per person*. The aim is to relax, enjoy the tropical ocean and document cetaceans and pelagic seabirds occurring in the Coral Sea Island Territory.

There have been several trips across the Coral Sea this year documenting, amongst other things, Audubon's Shearwaters, Tristram's Storm Petrel, Herald Petrel and possible Collared Petrels and Beck's Petrel. This area is very poorly documented and is a potentially exciting 'frontier' prospect for pelagic birding in Australia. The expedition will take us out beyond the Great Barrier Reef and along the outer reef edge before turning east and heading out to Flinders Reef and thereafter cruising around the Coral Sea islands. We will be cruising throughout each day and making anchorage each afternoon for snorkelling or diving. There will also be opportunities for island visits to observe seabird colonies.

The Tura is a fully licensed 78 foot motorised vessel. She has a cruising speed of approximately 10 knots, is air-conditioned and comfortably berthed. The Tura is equipped with dive facilities and for those with the relevant dive certificates, this service is offered. There may be a nominal hire charge for equipment if required.

The Territory's exquisite environment is likely to support concentrations of tropical cetacean species, as well as other sealife including several species of turtle, many seabirds and reef fish. The shallow atolls are set atop steep-sided seamounts and the shelf is excised by deep ocean canyons, providing habitat for elusive beaked whales. Longman?s beaked whale was first discovered from a beach-washed skull in Mackay in the late 1800s and has never since been seen in Australia - it is now known to be locally common in other parts of the Pacific. Other species of cetacean regularly seen in tropical reef areas of Australia include rough-toothed dolphin , spinner dolphin and melon-headed whale. There is also a chance of seeing pygmy / dwarf sperm whale, Fraser?s dolphin, striped dolphin, Risso?s dolphin, short-finned pilot whale, Cuvier?s beaked whale and Blainville?s beaked whale. On the trip out and back, inshore species occur including indo-pacific humpback dolphin, Irrawaddy dolphin and Dugong.

We are taking reservations for this trip now. A $450.00 holding deposit will be required which will become non-refundable at the end of  May 2006. 

See for more information on the vessel and contact Simon Mustoe on 03 9752 6398 (W) 03 9754 6083 (H) / 0405 220830 (M) if you have any queries.

*note, price does not include flights or travel insuranceIt is full board (excluding alcohol) and based on twin-share cabins and a minimum of 14 people.


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