The Birds Australia - Victoria Pelagics from Port Fairy
I organise the Birds Australia - Victoria Pelagics from Port Fairy. Mike
Carter and Rohan Clarke are the usual bird leaders on the boat on the day.
You may be aware that, at the moment, we are having trouble with getting
our trips out because the boat owner, Gary Roberts, is sick. We are
expecting that he will recover soon and we can resume normal service.
However, at this stage, we don't see that as a problem for bookings for
next year's trips.
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 12 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
$100-120, 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
While we don't insist on it, it helps if you are a member of Birds
Australia, given the close association between these boat trips and Birds
Australia. As well, we reserve two of the 12 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
So, from noon (AEST) on 13 July 2007, I will take bookings for the 2008
trips. To make a booking, e-mails with a 13 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 2008 to remain very high.
Last year, the boat filled up for all the 2007 trips on the initial
booking day. 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 2008 are below. (If the trip is postponed, then
the second attempt will occur on the date in brackets.)
13 January (no postponement date)
03 February (10 February)
02 March (16 March)
06 April (13 April)
04 May (11 May)
01 June (15 June)
06 July (13 July)
03 August (10 August)
07 September (14 September)
05 October (19 October)
09 November (16 November)
14 December (21 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.
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 evening after the boat trip. I try to
arrange rides for those that need them (especially from Melbourne),
although there are no guarantees. I can arrange comfortable and
inexpensive accommodation in Port Fairy. As well, I organise a Saturday
evening meal at a local pub for those that want to join us.
For the boat trip, we leave early (between 6 and 7.30, depending on the
season) and return in the afternoon (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" on the Birding-Aus archive.
If you have any other queries, please contact me. My contact number at
home is 03 9370 7418 or you can e-mail on
N.B. The remaining 2007 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 2007 waiting list, please let me know.
Vacancies will, of course, depend on us getting the boat back in operation
when Gary recovers. I will not be starting the 2009 bookings until July
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