Ashmore Reef Whaels and Seabirds

To: "'Richard Baxter'" <>, "'birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Ashmore Reef Whaels and Seabirds
From: "Paul Dodd" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2008 15:08:49 +1000
Great response, Richard. This really does point to value for money for the
participants. Whilst I've never organised a pelagic, I've certainly
organised large groups of people to dinners and functions and wound up
footing a considerable proportion of the bill. Personally, I think it is a
little rich when people pull out at the last minute and leave you having to
pay their way.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Richard Baxter
Sent: Thursday, 19 June 2008 12:15 PM
To: birding-aus
Subject: Ashmore Reef Whaels and Seabirds

Hello all,
             I've been reading  with some interest some of the comments in
relation to organising pelagic trips where the organiser goes for free.  As
someone who has organised pelagic seabirding trips totally over 100 days at
sea and over many years I would like to add another perspective to those
already posted. 
>From the start, my opinion is that I don't and have never cared or asked if
any organiser of any birding trip that I have gone on is paying, going for
free or making a profit.  If they can organise a trip where they go for
free, whoever they are, good luck to them.
What many people don't realise is that the organiser is the one that often
pays MORE then the participants.  I've organised the Newcastle Pelagic trips
with Phil Hansbro since 2000 and have NOT EVER had one free trip in that
time.  The figures are fairly simple. $1000 for the boat for the day, thats
10 people at $100.  In addition to the $100, I also have to buy $30 worth of
burley and $20 worth of Tuna Oil.  So far thats $150 a trip, minimum EVERY
trip.  Then people ring up and pull out the night before.  I've had two
seperate people ring up the night before a pelagic trip and withdraw for
medical reasons.  As I had people flying in from interstate I decided not to
cancel the trip.  I paid the boat owner their part, plus mine and paid for
the burley, all up $350 out of my own pocket so we could all have a day at
sea and know one ever knew.  This has happened on at least 10 occasions on
Newcastle trips where the organiser (me) has paid for a
 person that hasn't turned up out of his own pocket. I wonder how many
people think I go on the Newcastle Pelagic trips for free?
The other point that no one has considered is that often the organiser goes
for free but pays in other ways behind the scenes that participants never
find out about.  I've organised trips where I've gone on a long pelagic for
free but had to pay for equipment/permits etc to make the trip happen.  One
trip I had to buy $3,500 worth of fridge freezer for the boat to keep the
burley etc frozen for the length of the trip as the boat only had a tiny
freezer which was required for food. 
As already has been mentioned by others, there's the time involved.  Each
one day pelagic generates between 30-60 emails and there's no fuel
compensation for having to drive across town to buy the burley. 
Finally,  what does the organiser do on these trips?  Have you ever seen the
organisers of the Southport, Port Fairy etc pelagics inside doing crosswords
and chatting about the footy?  No, of course you haven't, the organiser,
rain, hail or shine is at the back of the boat all day, chumming and
spotting birds for those on board. 
Then there's the cost of the free birding trip. A quick calculation of the
number of hours taken organising, leading, writing the trip report etc
multiplied by my hourly rate in my 'day job' reveals that I should be
getting paid over $4,000 for the day and I'm sure the hours are the same for
the organisers of all Australia's pelagic trips. 
Richard Baxter

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