Southport Pelagic 18th August

To: <>
Subject: Southport Pelagic 18th August
From: "Paul Walbridge" <>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 07:50:50 +1000
Hi All, here is the pelagic report for last Saturday;

Location: Southport, Queensland
Date: 18/8/2012
Vessel: 37 ft Steber Monohull, MV Grinner
Crew: Craig Newton (skipper)
Pax: Paul Walbridge (leader & organiser), Marion Roper, Michael Potter,
Jeanie Churchward, Ian Churchward, John Reynolds, Todd Burrows, Andrew
Wood, Steve Murray, David Stewart, Michael Mcnaghten, Andrew Stafford,
Nancy Auerbach, Dirk Auerbach.

Weather conditions:
With a weak high pressure system over the Coral Sea, a trough crossed
over south east Queensland waters early on Saturday. Light NW winds
early on leaving the Seaway, rising to 10-15 knots by mid morning, then
to 20 + knots by midday from the NW. Winds then abated slightly moving
around to more westerly until mid afternoon when moved back to NW,
intensifying to > 25 knots. Mainly clear skies, with just some high
light cloud out wide, visibility excellent. Maximum air temp. 22* C,
barometer  1016 hPa.

Sea conditions:
Light seas on a low swell on leaving the seaway, with seas rising to
about 1.5 metres on a similar swell out wide. Sea surface temps. 19.5* C
at the Seaway, 20.7* C mid shelf, 21* C at the shelf-break & 
21.6* C at the widest drift point, current negligible.

Left the Southport Seaway at 0630 hrs and headed out to the Riviera
Grounds some 26 nautical miles ENE of Southport. Crossed the Shelf-break
at 0910 hrs , arriving at the drift point at 0940 hrs. Continued to
drift south, mostly windblown at 2 knots until 1220 hrs, then headed for
home, arriving back at the Seaway at 1600 hrs. Total duration of trip 9
hrs 30 minutes, Total distance travelled for the day, 68 nautical
On leaving the Seaway, zero trawler activity, with just one or two
Australasian Gannets, a couple of Crested Terns and a solitary Silver
Gull present but shortly afterward the first Wedge-tailed Shearwater
appeared.  Then at 0650 hrs near a small congregation of recreational
fishing vessels a larger group of 30 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters appeared
along with at least 2 Fluttering Shearwaters. For the next hour it was
mostly sightings of Australasian Gannets foraging with the odd
Wedge-tailed Shearwater and small parties of Fluttering Shearwater
heading north. Then at 0745 hrs a mixed fishing party of 30 Gannets, 50
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, 12 Fluttering Shearwaters and 3 Hutton
Shearwaters were encountered, feeding on a mix of surface and
sub-surface baitfish.
Activity dramatically dropped off then until just after crossing the
shelf-break when the first Providence Petrel was sighted at 0927 hrs. As
soon as we stopped for the drift, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters began to
arrive, shortly followed by more Providence Petrels, albeit in very low
numbers. At 1030 hrs the first Wilson*s Storm-Petrel appeared right at
the stern of the vessel, probably at less than 2 metres and those
fortunate enough to be there with cameras at the ready would have got
some stunning shots. Right on top of that the real surprise of the day
appeared, a young (on plumage) Tahiti Petrel appeared from the south.
August records are not unusual and the species has been recorded here in
every month of the year but never in water temperatures as low as on
this day. This bird hung around for about 15 minutes and even alighted
to feed on a couple of occasions before heading off to the north.
For the rest of the drift it was mainly Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, with
the occasional Providence Petrel and Wilson*s Storm-Petrel drifting in
with the maximum influx of 40 Wedge-tailed Shearwaters arriving at 1143
hrs. On heading for home at 1220 hrs a few Wedge-tailed Shearwaters
followed for several miles but little else noted until we crossed the
same area as where the congregation of feeding birds on the way out,
with Australasian Gannets, Wedge-tailed and Fluttering Shearwaters
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel * 7 (3)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 174 (50)
Fluttering Shearwater * 33 (12)
Hutton*s Shearwater * 11 (6)
Tahiti Petrel * 1 
Providence Petrel * 10 (4)
Australasian Gannet * 47 (30)
Crested Tern * 6 (2)
Silver Gull * 1 


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