Report prepared by: Paul Walbridge.
Vessel: 37ft monohull M.V.Grinner.
Crew: Craig Newton (skipper), Gailforce (deckie).
Pax: Paul Walbridge (leader & organizer), Willem Renema, Deane Lewis, Rob Morris, Chris Barnes, Richard Fuller, Brian Russell, Steve Murray, Brian Willey, Nick Livanos, Liz Livanos, Alan Crawford.
A trough moving away from the southern Queenslandcoast followed by a strengthening ridge was supposed to bring increasing SW-S but this didn*t eventuate. Light SW winds early, increasing to about 15+ knots from the south by mid morning, then easing right off by mid afternoon. Clear skies, with little or no cloud,
visibility excellent. Max. air temp. 23* C, Barometer 1022 hPa.
Slight seas on just a light swell on the way out, with increasing winds, seas rising to about .5 metre on about 1.7 metre swell by late morning. By the mid afternoon sea had dropped right off with almost glassy conditions approaching the Seaway. Current out wide running at about a knot N-S. Sea surface temps. 20.4* C at the Seaway, 22.8 at the Shelf-break & 23.1 at widest point.
Left the Southport Seaway at 0705 hrs & headed ENE to the canyons known as the "Rivieras" some 28 nautical miles off Southport. Crossed the Shelf-break at approx. 1000hrs, reaching the drift point at 1030 hrs and proceeded to drift until 1300 hrs when departed for home. Reached the Seaway at 1610 hrs - duration of trip 9hrs 5mins.
On leaving the Seaway just a few Crested Terns, Silver Gulls and Australasian Gannets following a couple of returning trawlers were present so proceeded directly to the Shelf-break. While still well on the Shelf the first Providence Petrels started to appear at 0902 hrs along with Wilson*s Storm Petrels and the first Fairy Prion shortly
after. By the time we stopped to drift, with so far, no berley thrown over, we had quite a gathering of birds behind the vessel.
By 1100 hrs more birds were starting to appear at the slick, right at the back of boat with up to 4 Great-winged Petrels joining the good numbers of Providence Petrels, when a large all dark Shearwater came charging in, making a bee-line for the sharks liver - a ravenous Sooty Shearwater, only Southports second record. By now more Fairy Prions were appearing along with up to 3 Black-bellied Storm Petrels and several Wilson*s Storm Petrels, all feeding close to the back of the vessel providing really good photo opportunities.
Then at about 1230 hrs everything scattered as a very young Black-browed Albatross came thundering in, swallowing anything in its path, spinning around with wings raised, to claim anything edible. For the rest of the drift nothing new turned up save for a flyby Common Noddy, so at 1300 hrs we powered up and headed for home. On the way backand on the Shelf a second, older immature Black-browed was encountered resting on the sea plus a few more Australasian Gannets closer in.
Wilson*s Storm Petrel * 7 (3)
Black-bellied Storm Petrel * 3
Black-browed Albatross * 2 (1)
Fairy Prion * 4 (2)
Sooty Shearwater * 1
Great-winged Petrel * 4
Providence Petrel * 139 (45)
Australasian Gannet * 6 (4)
Common Noddy * 1
Crested Tern * 39 (18)
Silver Gull * 3
Humpbacked Whale * 4
Inshore Bottle-nosed Dolphin -4
Not a bad day for a June Pelagic and good to see Prions back up here,
with the water temperature dropping lower than it has for some years, so
July/August promises much.