Southport Pelagic 21 August 2010.

Hi All, here is the report for Southports Saturday Pelagic;

Location: Southport, Queensland. Date: 21/8/2010. Vessel: M.V. Grinner. Crew: Craig Newton (skipper). Pax: Paul Walbridge (leader & organizer), Nikolas Haass, Raja Stephenson, Brian Russell, Chris Wiley, Ken Mckeown, Glen Pacey, Andrew Wood, Andrew Walter, Dave Stewart, Mary Macmillan, Marion Roper, Kay McLennan.

Weather conditions: A high, over the southern Coral Sea and moving east brought light SW winds to the coast early on, switching to southerly as the day wore on. Generally light winds throughout the day, barely reaching 10 knots. A virtually cloudless sky all day with excellent visibility, maximum air temp. 23* C, barometer 1024 hPa.

Sea conditions: Light seas on a gentle swell on leaving the Seaway and these conditions lasted until a north-south current was encountered shortly after the Shelf-break whereon the seas increased to .5 of a metre on a 1.5 metre swell. Later , when returning and back on the Shelf the sea calmed somewhat again and became quite glassy. Sea-surface temperatures, 18.4* C on crossing the Seaway, rising gradually to 21* C halfway across the Shelf and reaching a maximum of 23.7* C at the widest point.


Left the Seaway at 0640 hrs and proceeded to Jim*s Mountain , approx. 31nm ENE of the Southport Seaway. Reached the final drift point at 0955 hrs and proceed to drift until 1245 hrs before heading for home. Arrived back at the Southport Seaway at 1550 hrs, total duration of trip, 9 hours 10 minutes.

On leaving the Seaway, very little present save for numbers of Australasian Gannets working just beyond the surf but fifteen minutes out a lone trawler was encountered with mostly Silver Gulls and Crested terns following but also a number of recently returned Wedge-tailed Shearwaters. Continued out over the Shelf with very little noted except for the odd gannet but also a few Hutton*s Shearwaters and the occasional Wedge-tailed.

Arrived at Jim*s Mountain at 0955 hrs and proceeded to throw berley over the back end. Very slow at first as with so little wind the scent wasn*t carried but the slick had started to drift south of us and after a while the first Wedge-tailed Shearwaters arrived followed shortly by Wilson*s Storm Petrels. For the next hour or so that was pretty much it with Wedge-tailed numbers starting to build up, with a few extras such as Providence Petrels (very low numbers for this species) and the odd Common Noddy and Hutton*s Shearwater. Just before midday the first Black-bellied Storm-Petrel put in a belated appearance quickly followed by the seasons first Tahiti Petrel. Over the next hour more of both these species turned up and fed around the vessel, the Tahiti Petrels being particularly ravenous, a couple of which flying almost within arms length in order to get to the floating berley.

At 1245 hrs it was time to head for home with several Wedge-tailed Shearwaters following in tow, gorging on the chicken mince now being offered in the vessels wake. Apart from these birds which followed for most of the way back, little else noted except for the occasional Wilson*s Storm Petrel, Hutton*s Shearwater and Australasian Gannet.


Wilson*s Storm Petrel * 14 (3) Black-bellied Storm-Petrel * 4 (2) Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 189 (50) Hutton*s Shearwater * 11 (5) Tahiti Petrel * 5 (2) Providence Petrel * 8 (2) Australasian Gannet * 40 (25) Pied Cormorant * 1 Common Noddy * 3 (2) Crested Tern * 40 Silver Gull * 41


Humpback Whale – 14 Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin – 20+ Inshore Bottlenose Dolphin – 2+

Overall, a lovely Spring day out in the south Coral Sea & although diversity was a bit low what species there were presented well. With the water warming up it was great to have the Tahiti Petrels back after a 3 month hiatus and it would appear the Wilson’s Storm Petrels have started their southward movement, with the peak movement next month.

Next trip is on 18th September with several spots still available. Contact Paul Walbridge on:

Ph(W) 07 3139 4258 (H) 07 3256 4124 E-Mail:

Cheers – Paul W.

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