Proposed good weather Pelagic", St Helens Tasmania

To: Mike Carter <>, John Cox <>, Colin Rogers <>, Tony Russell <>
Subject: Proposed good weather Pelagic", St Helens Tasmania
From: Ian May <>
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 11:16:18 +0930
g'Day all

The down side of pelagic bird watching can be bad weather on the day. Often we arrive finding a gale blowing and to be told "you should have been here yesterday", or perhaps worse, after receiving the mother of all hidings at sea, we return home to find the weather fines up soon after.<> There may be a solution!

Proposed one week "Mega Pelagic" from St Helens.

For pelagic bird observers who would like to participate in three seperate sea trips over a one week period, I have decided to plan a series boat trips to the continental shelf from St Helens Tasmania. The plan is to take advantage of favourable weather windows as they occur and the priority for the week is pelagic birdwatching but in between sea trips, using our (ultimate?) birding vehicles, it is proposed to chase Tassie endemics.

The proposed trip itineraries are:

(1) Saturday 20 May 2006 to Friday 26 May

(2) Saturday 24 June to Friday 30 June.
If there is enough interest, another can be arranged for late July.

Why St Helens, Tasmania?

From mid autumn, after breeding at southern latitudes off New Zealand and Antarctica, pelagic birds congregate in remarkable numbers along the east coast of Tasmania between Wine Glass Bay and Eddystone Point. These birds form large rafts of mixed species at numerous locations, finding milder conditions here than elsewhere in Tasmania but also importantly an abundant source of food brought to the surface in nutrient rich up welling currents. These currents surface prominently at numerous marine canyons and sea mounts occurring along the continental shelf in this area and more than 30 pelagic species are regularly seen although almost any of the southern species could turn up here.

What are the likely conditions for pelagic bird observing?

There is no place in Australia where the continental shelf is closer to the coast than St Helens and where the prevailing winds during late autumn and winter are generally light to moderate off-shore. These conditions provide a more gentle sea state with predictably lower swell. Milder calmer sunny weather even during winter in this part of Tasmania explains why the region is known as "the Suncoast".

During the week we will have on call a comfortable and robust ocean going charter vessel with an experienced and qualified crew, a modern 60 foot Star Boat, capable of taking us safely to the shelf in less than an hour and able to return just as quickly if an unexpected blow should develop. Self contained motel accommodation will be provided for the week. Because of the need to rally at short notice accommodation would be at the same location where there is a choice of comfortable two, three and four bedroom units close to the centre of town.

Observers can travel to St Helens independently with their own vehicles from the mainland via the car ferry Princess of Tasmania or fly to Launceston or Hobart and arrange self drive hire vehicles.

Cost for the week (7 days and 6 nights) including twin share accommodation, vessel charter for the week and three days at sea, breakfast and cut lunch is $1480.00 per person inclusive. The trip can proceed with a minimum of 8 passengers. If you are interested contact me directly please.


Ian May

PO Box 110
St Helens Tasmania. 7216

Phone: Telstra Mobile: 0428 337 956

PS. These proposed trips are non profit and I wish to thank Russell Woodford for permission to publish this on birding-aus.


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