Birds Australia - Victoria Portland Pelagic Trips for 2010

Subject: Birds Australia - Victoria Portland Pelagic Trips for 2010
From: Chris Lester <>
Date: Fri, 04 Dec 2009 23:18:41 +1100
Dear Birding-Ausers,

Mike Carter, Rohan Clarke and I have been organising pelagic trips from Port Fairy since 2001 (and from Portland before that). I advised earlier in the year that these trips would be discontinued as our boat be unavailable due to the unfortunate illness of Gary, the owner. Gary is still ill and has being having treatment. He has had to sell his boat during this period. We have been looking for suitable boats since.

We have now found two boats that we can use out of Portland. The first, Game On Charters, is a smaller catamaran that takes 8 people. It is a fast and comfortable boat but quite a bit more expensive that the Port Fairy one. Trips on this boat will cost at least $200 depending on whether the boat is full. We recently trialled this boat and found it very good. The second boat, Southern Pride, is similar to Gary's and takes 12 people. It will not be as expensive - around $150 if the boat is full. This boat is only available from March to November because it is used for cray-fishing in the season. We have not been able to trial this boat yet and will be attempting to do that from next March.

So, we are going to use both boats next year and see how we go after some trials. We have booked the boats and are now prepared to take bookings for these trips. However, because we do not know how the second boat will perform, I will be taking bookings on a first-come, first-served basis but I will not specifically allocate people to particular trips yet. I will do that much closer to each trip.

Normally, boat trips are 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 are 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.

So, if you want to be part of our trial year in Portland, send me an e-mail to this address and nominate when you might be available. I will advise of the possibility of you getting on a trip a month or so before each trip by e-mail. Also, advise if you wish to be an emergency at short notice. Please include a contact telephone number.

*Trip Dates for 2010
*(If the trip is postponed because of bad weather, then the second attempt will occur on the reserve date in brackets.)*
*Game On Charters*
10 January 2010 (No reserve day)
07 February (Reserve day - 14)

*Southern Pride*
14 March (Reserve day - 21)
11 April (Reserve day - 18)
02 May (Reserve day - 09)
06 June (Reserve day - 20)
04 July (Reserve day - 11)
01 August (Reserve day - 08)
05 September (Reserve day - 12)
03 October (Reserve day - 10)
07 November

*Game On Charters*
14 November
12 December (Reserve day - 19)
09 January 2011 (Reserve day - 16)

Melbourne people usually travel down to Portland 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. These is plenty of accommodation in Portland but we do not have the same permanent booking there as we had at Port Fairy, so you will need to arrange your own accommodation. I will continue to organise a Saturday evening meal at a local eatery 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 or 5). 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, Portland is also 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 <>.

Please note my new e-mail address for boat trip correspondence. (I will not be able to respond to e-mails on this topic to my former e-mail address.)




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