Vessel: 37 ft monohull, M.V. Grinner
Crew: Craig Newton (skipper)
Pax: Paul Walbridge (organizer & leader), Burnice Starkey, Brian Russell, Rob Morris, Chris Wiley, Chris Sanderson, Andrew Stafford, Dan Coleman, Decie Coleman, Gary Cranitch, John Norling, Glen Pacey, Kevin Delahoy, Joe Gilmour, Sam Gilmour.
As a high moved east across southern Australiaa strengthening ridge of high pressure brought mainly clear conditions, and moderate S-SE winds to southern Queenslandwaters. A fine clear day, with just some light cloud appearing mid afternoon, visibility excellent. Wind, light from the SW in early morning, strengthening and from S-SE to 15+ knots as the morning progressed, with a lightening off in late afternoon. Air temp.
19* C maximum, barometric pressure 1024 hPa.
Light seas on a moderate swell on leaving the Seaway, which with the change of wind direction gradually increased until at the widest point up to 1.5 metre seas on a 2+ metre swell from the south. Almost negligible current out wide and sea surface temps. 17.9* C at the Seaway, 21.8* C halfway across the Shelf, rising to 22.5* C at the Shelf-break and 23.1* C at the widest point.
Left the Seaway at 0700 hours & with no trawler activity, headed directly out to the system of ridges known as the Rivieras, approx. 28 nm almost due east of Southport. The idea being, with little or no current and a southerly wind we would drift north to Jim*s Mountain. Crossed the Shelf-break at approx. 0945 hrs and reached the first drift point at 1040 hrs. Left for home just after 1300 hrs, arriving back at the Seaway at 1617 hours * total duration of trip 9hrs 17 mins.
With no trawlers returning, little bird activity on leaving the Seaway save for a few Crested Terns, Silver Gulls and Australasian Gannets. Shortly after though the first Fairy Prions started to appear, along with Fluttering Shearwaters and Providence Petrels turned up whilst still on the *Shelf*. On reaching the *Rivieras* at 220 fathoms we stopped for a drift and tossed over the berley with little bird activity present.
Gradually birds started to appear, a few Fairy Prions and Providence Petrels with small numbers of Wilson*s Storm-Petrels and Black-bellied Storm-Petrels. At 1234 hrs a Black-browed Albatross appeared some distance away down the now substantial slick but seemed to show no interest in coming to the back of the vessel. Not long after a
*gannet* type flew right over the vessel quite low down, actually an immature Masked Booby, dark eyed and presumably a Lord Howe bird, a species that seems to be turning up more frequently. Although new birds were still coming into the slick, mainly from the north it was getting close to leaving time so it was decided to head back down the slick to get closer to the Black-browed so people could photograph it.
Sure enough the albatross, a juvenile bird was sitting on the water looking fat and not really interested in flying, although it did so, lazily, a short distance. Also here, was some sort of *current line* with flotsam and detritus concentrated along the surface, with several birds, mainly Fairy Prions and Providence Petrels showing some interest in it. On the way back another Black-bellied Storm-Petrel was sighted just before the Shelf-break and mostly Australasian Gannets when back on the Shelf plus a few more Fluttering Shearwaters. A single Yellow-nosed Albatross was sighted when half way back, heading toward the coast.
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel * 6 (3)
Black-bellied Storm-Petrel * 4 (2)
Black-browed Albatross * 1
Yellow-nosed Albatross - 1
Fairy Prion * 10 (4)
Fluttering Shearwater * 19 (10)
Providence Petrel * 30 * (7)
Australasian Gannet * 30 (20)
Masked Booby * 1
Crested Tern * 12 (4)
Silver Gull * 12 (6)