Report prepared by: P.J. Milburn.

    Departed: 07:10 returned at approx. 15:10.
    Sea conditions: calm at first, peaking at 1.5 to 2.0m SSE in the late morning.
    Swell: S 1.5 to 2.0 m.
    Weather: Mostly overcast with occasional showers.
    Temperature range: 17.8 to 18.2°C.
    Barometric pressure: 1016 HPa rising.
    Wind: Calm at first, SW 5 to 10 kts offshore, veering to SSE 15 20 kts later.
    Sea surface temperature: 19.8 to 21.2°C.
    Primary chumming location: S 34° 28’ – E 151° 15’.


    On the whole a rather uneventful late autumn day on the ocean, with the notable exception of the first recorded MASKED BOOBY for the Wollongong Pelagic Trip.

    For the week prior to this trip cool southerly winds had buffeted the coast as a result of a deep low-pressure system located to the southeast of Tasmania. Under the influence of a high-pressure system over Victoria, the winds had abated overnight. The morning was mild and surprisingly calm but storm clouds to both the north and south suggested that these conditions would not last. The conditions deteriorated during the morning but eased by lunchtime and were never worse than mildly uncomfortable.

    Several encounters with the first Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross of the year on our journey to the Continental Slope brought lasting smiles.

    A Solander’s Petrel resolutely patrolled the 100-fathom line and investigated our vessel as we crossed the edge of the Continental Shelf. This proved to be the only pterodroma petrel identified positively throughout the day. Also at the edge of the shelf were several Brown Skua, distinguished individually by different states of moult and an adult Black-browed Albatross.

    Seabirds were scarce in deeper water so we returned to a plume of warmer water inside the edge of the Continental Shelf. Stopping to berley in 80 fathoms of water we attracted several albatross, including the first Campbell Albatross of the year. While admiring these birds a sub-adult MASKED BOOBY passed behind the boat at less than 20m range creating a certain amount of surprise! This was the first time that this species has been recorded in the Wollongong area.

    The remainder of our cruise back to port was enlivened by a visit from a large pod of Short-beaked Common Dolphin and a late season Common Tern. Two shearwaters that were probably LITTLE SHEARWATER were seen in the distance.


    Brief but excellent views of a sub-adult MASKED BOOBY and three species of albatross. The former being the first record for Wollongong (only the second for NSW) and the latter being the first of 2003.

    Birds recorded according to the latest Environment Australia Reporting Schedule:

    Species code: Species name: NumbersNote: numbers in parenthesis = highest count at any one time)

    971 Solander’s Petrel Pterodroma solandri 1
    068 Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus gavia 8 (3)
    071 Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris 4 (3)
    088 Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophrys 1
    859 Campbell Albatross T. impavida 2 (2)
    864 Indic Yellow-nosed Albatross T. carteri 8 (3)
    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    104 Australasian Gannet Morus serrator 28 (13)
    105 MASKED BOOBY Sula dactylatra 1 sub-adult
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 8 (4)
    980 Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi 3 (1)
    981 Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus 6 (3)
    125 Silver Gull L. novaehollandiae 160 (82)
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 14 (6)
    953 Common Tern S. hirundo 1

    In the harbour:

    096 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
    100 Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos 1
    106 Australian Pelican Pelicanus conspicillatus 5
    115 Crested Tern Sterna bergii 115 species of seabird identified outside the breakwater.


    Australian Fur-Seal Arctocephalus pusillus 2 (1)
    Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 115+ (100+)
  • Slideshow