• End of the Halicat - Sydney, Australia pelagic trips

    Roger McGovern has advised the Halicat has been sold and will not be offering further pelagic trips, as below. Currently there are no known plans of any pelagic trips to be offered from Sydney.

    It is with some sadness that I have to inform birding-aussers that the MV Halicat has operated its last pelagic sea watch expedition from Sydney. Hal Epstein has sold the vessel and we understand that it will be moving away from Sydney on a permanent basis. The Halicat has been operating these trips for the best part of 20 years and I have been extremely fortunate to have been part of that operation for all of that time except when I was living in Perth in 1998-9.

    The scheduled pelagic trip on Saturday October 12th will proceed as usual in order to honour the bookings already in place and we will be using the MV Lormar for the day - it is a displacement vessel with a capacity of about 20 passengers. Since this trip next Saturday is almost fully subscribed, it is planned to run the November 9th trip on the same vessel, if there is sufficient interest. There are no arrangements in place to my knowledge for the continuation of the Sydney pelagic tradition and I have to say that, having reached a'certain age' in life, I think that the future of seabird watching off Sydney should be in younger hands than mine.

    We have been very fortunate in having Hal as the key part of providing the vessel for these trips as he was prepared to go out even when numbers were not sufficient to make it financially viable and the Halicat was an exceptional platform for observation. A future organiser will have the task of finding a suitable vessel and figuring out how to handle the financial risk of the somewhat fickle Sydney market. Hal, Steve Anyon-Smith, David James and I would be more than happy to assist anyone trying to get something organised and to pass on all our knowledge of boats, bookings, locations, sourcing berley material, and the like. Finally, a big thank you to all those birders who have supported the Sydney pelagic in the past. I really hope that we can get an alternative operation running off Sydney - it is too important to our knowledge of seabirds to give up on it.

    Roger McGovern
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