Vessel: 37ft monohull M.V. Grinner.
Skipper: Craig Newton.
Pax: Paul Walbridge (leader & organizer) Greg Anderson, Andrew Walter, Brian Russell, Rod Gardner, Steve Murray, Willem Renema, Dave Stewart, Rebecca Ryan, Peter Ryan, John Coleman, Anna Kearns, Scott Baker, Richard Fuller, Claire…
A trough over the Coral Sea & a deepening low moving southeast away from NSW brought light SW to NE winds to Southeast Queensland. On leaving the Seaway, light SW to 10 knots rising to 10-15 knots N-NE by early afternoon. Generally cloudless skies, with excellent visibility. Max. air temp. 25° C. Barometer 1012 hPa.
Generally calm seas throughout the day with just a light swell early, increasing to about 1.7 metres out wide. Current out wide running at just over a knot. Sea surface temps.21.2° C at the Seaway, increasing to 24.7° C at the Shelf-break and to 25.2° C at the widest drift point.
Departed Southport Seaway at 0650 hrs and headed ENE to a spot known locally as the “Rivieras’, a system of caverns & ridges. Reached the Shelfbreak at 0920 hrs and the main drift point at approx. 1020 hrs, approx. 58 kilometres ENE of the Seaway, where we proceeded to drift and drop berley until 1245 hrs before heading home. Reached the Seaway at 1545 hrs, total duration of trip, 8Hrs 55 mins.
On leaving the Seaway, not much of note around with a few gulls and terns milling around some trawlers with a lone Wedge-tailed Shearwater, of note though were 3 young Australasian Gannets, the first of the year. As usual the Shelf was very quiet especially at this time of year when nearly all the Wedge-tailed Shearwaters have cleared out, so a couple of Providence Petrels heading landward at the 50 fathom mark was quite a surprise.
On crossing into ‘slope’ waters more Providence Petrels started to appear along with a solitary Arctic Jaeger and the first Tahiti Petrel & Wilson’s Storm Petrels. Started a drift and berley slick and over the next couple of hours drifted very slowly to the southeast with just a few Great-winged Petrels and more Providence, Tahiti & Wilson’s Storm Petrels putting in an appearance. It’s amazing how big a piece of animal fat a Wilson’s Stormy can lift off the surface.
Started for home at 1245 hrs and had a few more Providence & Great-winged Petrels on the Shelf, including one of each just a few kilometers from shore that followed the vessel for some distance. A lone Flesh-footed Shearwater also appeared, quite late for that species. This trip was a week later than planned and almost into May, a month of transition in these waters & not noted for diversity.
Wilson’s Storm Petrel – 33 (9)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater – 2 (1)
Flesh-footed Shearwater – 1
Tahiti Petrel – 7 (2)
Great-winged Petrel – 5 (1)
Providence Petrel – 25 (6)
Australasian Gannet – 3
Pied Cormorant – 1
Arctic Jaeger – 1
Common Tern – 1
Crested Tern - 33 (30)
Silver Gull - 60 (60)