Saturday, October 21, 2006

Gold Coast- Spiffingly good!

after leaving rainbow beach i headed down to brisbane where i did naff all for two days.
then i went down to surfers paradise, in the Gold Cost for the Indy 300 race, which seems to be the bigest event on in austrlia at the moment, the place was absolutely heaving. i only had time to visit the first day which was mainly practice and qualifying, but a porsche carrera race at the end of the day was exciting stuff to watch, and so loud it was unbelievable, the off-track entertainment was also pretty damn good (pics to folow!). then i nipped a short way up the coast to southport where i am at the moment, staying in "trekkers" the best hostel i've been in in aus so far. Today was one of the most anticipated days of the trip, a pelagic.
The trip did not start well for me, i soon realised that 3 hours of sleep, a belly full of chep beer and a lack of food (thanks to the hostel kitchen being locked when i left at 4:30am) was not a recipe for a stable stomach when combined with a bit of a chop on the sea. luckily, the sea flattenned off fairly quick and the birds started to show, the steam out to the continental shelf was interrupted by a "wandering" albatross, probably gibsonii, several Wilsons Storm Petrels and my first fleshy footed shearwater. Soon after stopping and hoying out a load of shark liver (white pointer, the best stuff apparently) the prize bird appeared, a Tahiti Petrel, a cracking black (or very dark brown) pterodroma style petrel ,that flew very languidly, like a small albatross, an awesome bird. For the rest of the trip there was constantly something to look at, a small flock of Common Noddies were my first of this species, and by the end of the trip we had counted 11 Tahitis, 31 wilsons petrels and far to many wedge tailed shears to bother counting. a nice sighting of a humpback whale was had on the way back to port, and we were welcomed back to the harbour by a low flying F-111 jet burning off its fuel spectacularly over the nearby indy race, nicely topping off a wonderful few days.

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