Vessel: 37 ft Steber monohull M.V. Grinner.
Crew: Craig Newton (skipper).
A ridge extending over SE Queensland initially brought moderate S-SE winds to the coast with increasing ocean swells. By Saturday morning wind had eased off considerably and during the day swung around to the west then NW by midday, barely reaching 10 knots. Light cloud for most of the day increasing on approaching the coast, visibility very good. Maximum air temp, 24* C, barometric pressure 1020 hPa.
On leaving the Seaway, calm seas on 1.5-2 metre swell which increased on way out over the Shelf, averaging 3 metres with some sets reaching 4-4.5 metres but with the calm conditions, some way apart. Current out wide to 2 knots N-S, sea surface temps. 19.1*C at the Seaway, 22.8* C at the Shelf-break and 23.4* C out wide.
Left the Southport Seaway at 0640 hrs and with the calm conditions headed out at 10 knots to the *Rivieras*, 28 nm east of the Seaway. Crossed the Shelf-break at approx. 0845 hrs and reached the drift point at 0940 hrs and proceeded to drift until 1230 hrs, then headed for home. Reached the Seaway at 1540 hrs, total duration of trip 9 hrs.
Shortly after leaving the Seaway two returning trawlers were encountered with the majority of birds behind one vessel, however apart from large numbers of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters there wasn*t much else. A few birds turned up across the Shelf including the first Flesh-footed Shearwater of the season plus the first Wilson*s Storm-Petrel of the day. Sometime before crossing the Shelf-break the berley bag full of shark liver was tossed over and towed and shortly after crossing into Slope waters the first Providence Petrels started to appear in the slick.
Reached the Rivieras at 0940 hrs and proceeded to throw berley over the side and with little wind wasn*t expecting much to turn up quickly. However it wasn*t too long before numbers of Providence Petrels began to show and feed very close to the boat*s stern, quickly joined by increasing numbers of Wilson*s Storm-Petrels, Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and the odd Flesh-footed Shearwater. Just before 1030 hrs a Bridled Tern showed up close to the vessel followed by two others a short time later, this species surprisingly isn*t sighted very often off Southport, unlike Sooty Tern. The next good bird for the day appeared in the form of a lone Cape Petrel which hung around for an hour or so, squabbling over *chum* with the now increasing numbers of Providence Petrels. A Hutton*s Shearwater also appeared very close and gave the photographers on board good opportunities for both flight and on the water shots.
By 1230 hrs it was time to leave after drifting south some distance and we headed for home. Twenty minutes later the boat ground to a halt as the bird of the day, a dark phase Kermadec Petrel appeared with the following petrels and shearwaters and circled the vessel for some minutes. After that, not much else appeared as we were followed by mostly Wedge-tailed Shearwaters most of the way back over the Shelf.
Wilson*s Storm-Petrel * 30 (10)
Cape Petrel * 1 (australe)
Wedge-tailed Shearwater * 333 (250)
Flesh-footed Shearwater * 10 (2)
Hutton*s Shearwater * 5 (2)
Kermadec Petrel * 1 (dark phase)
Providence Petrel * 127 (40)
Australasian Gannet * 14 (13)
Bridled Tern * 3 (2)
Sooty Tern * 1
Crested Tern * 31 (20)
Silver Gull * 31 (30)
Humpback Whale - 5
Offshore Bottlenose Dolphin - 4