Sunday, July 23, 2006

Wollongong Pelagic

Today was the day i had been waiting for for ages. My last pelagic was almost 11 months ago off the isles of scilly. Anyone who has done pelagics will know how addictive they are, and know that 11 moths is a long time to go without.
as i was down to the harbour i saw a car embedded in a lampost with the engine smoking and wedged nicely between 2 palm trees on a mini roundabout, engine running and lights on, it had obviously only just crashed. i ran towards the car and could see what looked like someone slumped over the steering wheel, shit, i had 5 minutes to get to the boat and i would have to peform first aid and call the emergency services all because some pillock couldnt be arsed to take the long route AROUND the roundabout, i would surely miss the boat, arses. i got up to the windowof the car and a bloke lifted his head up from sending a text message and asked if i had any cigarettes, thank god for that, he was alrite, he told me not to tell anyone cos he wanted to get the car out of the way before the rossers found out. relieved, i ran on down to the boat.

with that minor drama out of the way i boarded the boat full of anticipation, i was not to be dissapointed, within minutes of leaving the harbour i had seen yellow nosed and black browed albatrosses, along with fluttering and short tailed shearwater (which i rather embarrasingly called as a Sooty) and pacific gull.
By the time we arrived back at the harbour 9 hours later i had seen 18 lifers including 7 albatrosses: Yellow nosed, black browed, shy, campbell, wandering, antipodean and white capped. Also Nothern and Southern Giant Petrel, Solanders petrel, fairy prion, brown skua and cape petrel. Also seen were 2 Humpback whales, a probable minke whale, a pod of common dolphin and a couple of australian fur seal.
OK, it wasnt anything special as wollongong pelagics go, with no rares for the locals but it was great to be surrounded by such awesome seabirds and mammals.
Another important feature of the trip was the ringing of the seabirds. It was pretty special to such gargantuan birds as Wanderign alberts and Giant Petrels in the hand, check out SOSSA'S website for more details:

Off to barren grounds reserve tommorrow, then back to sydney and heading off to mildura for a spot of vineyard work fairly soon.

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