From Chris Lester:
I am continuing as organiser for the Birds Australia - Victoria
Pelagics from Port Fairy through 2007. Mike Carter remains the bird
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 $80-90, 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 sea-birders.
While we don't insist on it, it helps if you are a member of Birds
Australia, given the recent closer association between these boat
trips and Birds Australia. As well, we have decided to reserve two of
the 13 places on the boat for people who have never been out before
(or have been out only once). Therefore, please let me know if you
are a BA member and/or some-one who has not been out before.
So, from noon on 14 July 2006, I am starting taking bookings for the
2007 trips. To make a booking, e-mails with a 14 July date after
noon are necessary. Places on the boat from Port Fairy have been at
a premium for the last couple of years, so I expect demand for 2007
to remain high. In the last two years, the boat filled up very
quickly for all 2005 and 2006 trips soon after I put the notices on
Birding-Aus. 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 2007 are as follows. (If the trip is
postponed, then the second attempt will occur on the date in brackets.)
4 February (11 February)
4 March (18 March)
1 April (15 April)
6 May (13 May)
3 June (17 June)
1 July (8 July)
5 August (12 August)
2 September (9 September)
7 October (21 October)
11 November (18 November)
9 December (16 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 7418.
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 pub.
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. And, over the years, a good number of rarities. You
can check out what has been seen previously by looking at our trip
reports under "Port Fairy" (and "Portland") on the Birding-Aus archive.
If you have any other queries, please contact me.
N.B. The remaining 2006 trips are well and truly booked out, but I
still maintain waiting lists for them. I often get a number of
cancellations, so if you want to be on the 2006 waiting list, please
let me know.
I will not be starting the 2008 bookings until July 2007.
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