I would like to follow up on an appeal for more people to attend the Ashmore
Trip. It may be seen as a commercial trip but those of us who go pay money like
anyone else to make sure it is a success. It is no more commercial than the
rest of the pelagics in Australia and is one of the most valuable sources of
information on seabirds and cetaceans from this extremely rich and rarely
explored area. The organiser, George Swann, hardly if ever breaks even and
should be commended for his amazing commitment to this trip for birders!
So please, consider coming. This is about the best pelagic you can do off
Australia and is happening again this year, departing Broome on the 20th
October and returning Broome on the 27th October 2008 (see PS for more
details). Just last year the trip recorded eight species of whale and dolphin,
including Blue Whale, Dwarf Sperm Whale and Fraser's Dolphin. In years past,
Rough-toothed Dolphins and Cuvier's Beaked Whales have also been seen.
It is the only way to see these amazing islands. Ashmore Reef is a National
Nature Reserve located just south of Indonesia and a paradise for wildlife.
Several days are spent at sea in some of the richest marine environment
Australia has to offer. You will see many sea snakes, turtles and marine
mammals. The trip is run as an exclusive wildlife-watching trip with the chance
to rub shoulders with some of the best wildlife observers in Australia and
explore the remote deep-water offshore of the Northern Kimberley. Exotic birds
like Matsudeira's Storm Petrels (from Japan) and Jouanin's Petrels (from the
Red Sea) are often recorded.
Three nights are spent on Ashmore Reef itself, with daily trips to the main
island, which attracts migrant birds from south-east Asia. There is also
evidence of Indonesian cultural heritage and coral reefs all around. You can
snorkel from the main vessel or the island. It is also possible to take one of
the vessel tenders to look for turtles and dugongs.
If you would like more information about this trip, get in touch with Lindsay
or George by using the email address on www.kimberleybirdwatching.com.au.
Again, I have no commercial interest in the expedition but it has proved an
immensely valuable source of biodiversity data for an otherwise unknown area of
the country. Like many others, I have an interest in seeing it continue to
succeed for this reason alone.
PS: Here is my trip report from 2004: Ashmore Reef Cruise Trip Report (24 - 31
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