Hi All, Saturdays' Southport Pelagic, so different to the Port Stephens
trip on the following day, obviously different weather systems happening
Location: Southport, Qld.
Vessel: 37 ft monohull, MV Grinner.
Crew: Craig Newton (skipper)
Pax: Paul Walbridge (leader & organiser), Rob Morris, Stuart Warren,
Jon Norling, Andrew Stafford, Glen Pacey, Brian Tynan, Luke Bennett,
Colin Reid, Stefan Schlick, Rob Dougherty, Todd Burrows, Jim Sneddon,
John Weigel, Greg Anderson.
Unsettled conditions over SEQ due to a trough moving east across the
state with mostly gusty northerly winds, to be followed by a weak
southerly change. The southerly change occurred earlier than forecast
and by Saturday morning had petered out with light N-NE winds kicking
back in until a super cell storm passed to the north through Brisbane
and out to sea, mid to late morning. A 10-15 knot SE wind followed,
around midday. Light cloud cover early on but with the storm passing
through to the north, the cloud cover became increasingly dense and rain
showers ensued with increasing thunder. Max. air temperature 28* C,
barometer 1008 hPa.
Light seas on a low swell early, on leaving the Seaway and pretty much
the same all the way out to the Shelf-break, with the swell rising to
about 1.5 metres. With the storm passing through to the north and the SE
change kicking in, seas rose to about a metre on a 1.7 metre swell,
veering around to the SE. Sea *surface temps. 21.6* C at the Seaway,
rising to 23.4* C halfway across the Shelf, 24.4* C at the Shelf-break
and 25.4* C at the widest drift point. EAC running at 2.6 knots at the
Left the Seaway at 0555 hrs, heading ENE to the Rivieras, crossing the
Shelf-break at 0815 hrs and reaching the final drift point at 0900 hrs.
Moved one run back across the berley trail at 1055 hrs and continued to
drift SE until 1220 hrs before heading for home, after drifting 8
nautical miles. Arrived back at the Seaway at 1515 hrs, duration of trip
9 hrs 20 mins.
On leaving the seaway a couple of trawlers were encountered close in
despite the strong northerlies the previous night. Only the first
trawler had any birds around it, consisting of Silver Gulls, Crested
Terns and 3 species of cormorant. Moving across the Shelf a few
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters started to appear with a lone, late, Wilson*s
Storm-Petrel passing astern of the vessel at 0740 hrs, halfway across
the shelf. The first Short-tailed Shearwaters were sighted heading
leisurely south at 0800 hrs, with a group of about 45 passing in front
of the vessel. From then until the first drift point at the Rivieras it
was all Short-tailed Shearwaters heading directly south with the
occasional foraging Wedge-tailed Shearwater putting in an appearance.
Just as we pulled up to the drift point at 0900 hrs an intermediate
Red-footed Booby loomed in from the south and continued north, the
second sighting this year. With little wind it was a while before the
next bird showed up to the berley trail and with the increase in water
temp. over the previous trip it wasn*t at all a surprise when that
bird turned out to be a Tahiti Petrel. This individual went back and
forth for some time, no doubt looking for the source of the scent and
soon after was joined by the first Flesh-footed Shearwater of the
Spring. For the next three hours it was a case of Tahiti Petrels
appearing from mainly a SE direction in ones and twos, sometimes more,
with Short-tailed Shearwaters moving steadily south, with the occasional
few stopping for a feed and the occasional Wedge-tailed and Flesh-footed
Shearwater chiming in. At 1043 hrs a pair of Sooty Terns appeared up the
slick, the last new bird for the day.
At 1055 hrs the vessel headed ENE back up the slick and for the next 1 *
hours the most numerous bird around the berley was Tahiti Petrel with
several seen to land relatively close to the vessel, the only species
outnumbering it being the constant stream of Short-tailed Shearwaters
heading south. With the *super cell* storm to the north spilling out
into the ocean and dispersing over a wider expanse, by 1220 hrs we were
starting to experience rain and rumbling thunder and thought it wise to
head for home. More of the same heading back with several parties of
Short-tailed Shearwaters, one or two Flesh-footed Shearwaters and a
couple of Tahiti Petrels following astern until well onto the Shelf.
Approaching the Seaway just a few foraging Wedge-tailed Shearwaters,
Crested and Common Terns.
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel * 1
Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 19 (4)
Flesh-footed Shearwater * 5 (1)
Short-tailed Shearwater * 520 (130)
Tahiti Petrel * 72 (18)
Red-footed Booby * 1
Great Cormorant * 1
Little Black Cormorant * 6
Pied Cormorant * 13
Sooty Tern * 2 b
Little Tern * 1
Common Tern * 42 (30)
Crested Tern * 78 (60)
Silver Gull * 31 (30)
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