Southport 17th August

To: <>
Subject: Southport 17th August
From: "Paul Walbridge" <>
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 2013 06:40:03 +1000
Hi All, here is the trip report for Southport for last Saturday 17th

Location: Southport, Queensland
Date: 17/8/2013
Vessel: 37 ft Steber monohull, MV Grinner
Crew: Craig Newton (skipper)
Pax: Paul Walbridge (leader & organizer), Jon Norling, Rob Morris,
Nicolas, Rakotopare, Richard Baxter, Niel Bruce, Nikolas Haass, Raja
Stephenson, Glen Pacey, Martin Cake, Steve Murray, Dave Stewart, Rod

Weather conditions:
A high in the southern Coral Sea brought NW-Ne winds 10- 20 knots to
the SEQ coastline. Generally fine conditions throughout the day with
some high cloud obscuring the Sun at times but visibility generally very
good. Maximum air temp. 25* C, barometer 1022 hPa.

Sea conditions:
Calm seas on negligible swell on leaving the Seaway, deteriorating with
increasing wind and by the 50 fathom mark rising to about 1 metre of sea
on 1.5 metre swell but little distance between swells, so bumpy with
lots of spray. Out wide, conditions eased somewhat, sea surface temps.
20.4* C at the seaway rising to 23.7* C at the shelf-break and 24.8* C
at the widest drift point. EAC out wide running at 3.5 knots.

Left the seaway at 0610 hrs and headed out to the Riviera grounds, 26
nautical miles ENE of Southport. Crossed the shelf-break at 0915 hrs,
reaching the final drift point at 1010 hrs. Continued to drift south for
8 nautical miles until 1230 hrs then headed for home, arriving back at
the seaway at 1415 hrs, total time of trip 10 hrs 5 mins.
On leaving the seaway, no trawler activity noted and just one or two
Australasian Gannets and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters present. At 0700 hrs a
couple of Hutton*s Shearwaters crossed in front of the boat and an
ever increasing stream of recently returned Wedge-tailed Shearwaters
heading north, most likely to a source of baitfish. Heading for the
shelf-break it was all Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, until 0847 hrs, just a
couple miles short of the break when two Providence Petrels appeared,
probably attracted to the slick from the berley bag.
Reached the drift point at the Rivieras at 1010 hrs and at 1016 hrs a
solitary Crested Tern appeared, quickly followed by a Wedge-tailed
Shearwater, then 7 Providence Petrels, surprisingly from upwind to the
north, they most likely had used the Crested Tern as a visual guide. The
numbers of Providence Petrel were building gradually until 1025 hrs
there were at least 20 around the vessel feeding hungrily when the first
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel arrived in the slick. Wedge-tailed Shearwaters
were now outnumbering Providence Petrels with up to 40 feeding around
the vessel and at 1103 hrs a Common Noddy arrived to investigate but as
usual quickly moved on, with no interest in offal.
Shortly after at 1115 hrs a Kermadec Petrel arrived, a darker
intermediate bird in good plumage and it remained for some time, making
extremely close passes and was observed a couple of times to actively
pursue other birds in spectacular fashion just like a jaeger. Not long
after at 1130 hrs the first Black-bellied Storm-Petrel appeared, a bird
with the classic broad central stripe down the belly. The numbers of
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters around the vessel had risen to 50 with at least
20 Providence Petrels at a time, continuously replenishing from the
south, when a second dark intermediate Kermadec Petrel appeared, this
one showing primary moult, also making several close passes. Around the
same time a small shearwater that had been lurking around the distant
edges of the feeding birds came close enough to be identified as a
Fluttering Shearwater. 
At 1210 hrs a second Black-bellied Storm-Petrel approached the vessel,
this one showing a narrower central stripe down the belly and joined at
least 3 Wilson*s Storm-Petrels down the slick. The numbers of
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters had risen to 60 and a second Common Noddy did a
flyby. At 1230 hrs it was time to head for home as it would be a long,
wet slog back with a brisk northerly abeam. Just half an hour later at
1300 hrs a second year Black-browed Albatross appeared astern amongst
the still following throng of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. Right on cue and
for the second year in a row, an early returning Tahiti Petrel appeared,
 providing punters with the  unusual spectacle of Southern Ocean meets
Coral Sea, something Southport is renowned for. Heading back and at 1320
hrs, still outside the shelf a Brown Booby appeared from the north,
heading SE, the last notable sighting for the day.  
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel * 8 (3)
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel * 2 
Black-browed Albatross * 1 
Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 215 (60)
Fluttering Shearwater * 1 
Hutton*s Shearwater * 3 (2)
Tahiti Petrel * 1 
Kermadec Petrel * 2 
Providence Petrel * 109 (20)
Australasian Gannet * 8 (5)
Brown Booby * 1 
Common Noddy * 2 (1)
Crested Tern * 7 (2)
Silver Gull - 2 


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