Ashmore Reef Whaels and Seabirds

To: "'Richard Baxter'" <>, "'birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Ashmore Reef Whaels and Seabirds
From: "Tony Russell" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2008 15:58:09 +0930
Hi Richard. Well, with all that to work with it's a wonder you bother -
unless you really WANT to go of course.  Isn't it the lure of new birds
that cuts it ?Ho ho.


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Richard Baxter
Sent: Thursday, June 19, 2008 11:45 AM
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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