I saw a Pelagic boat tour advertised on a FaceBook Birding Group and got on board right away! (hehe pun intended)
The hugemongous boat ("Alison Maree") was leaving Augusta at 0700 and then it's basically a three hour trip to the continental shelf. (Only 80kms off the coast, boats seem rather slow compared to motorbikes, seriously needs more engine or something hehe).
Then the plan was to spend about four hours drifting around and seeing what happens to fly by.
Before this trip, I didn't actually know what pelagic or continental shelf really meant...hahaha...(I heard about pelagic fish...just never knew it related to its habitat haha)
So google to the rescue, "Pelagic" just means "relating to the open sea" and the continental shelf "is the area of seabed around a large land mass where the sea is relatively shallow compared with the open ocean."
So this tour was specifically aimed at observing pelagic birds, which necessitated a trip out into the open ocean. I imagine the continental shelf was chosen because big drop offs are where fish are and would be where the pelagic birds would be hunting.
Now that the boring stuff is out of the way, let's get onto the pictures!
I came down to Augusta the day before so did a bit of sightseeing after checking in. Found an old waterwheel which I thought might look at night with the milky way...Of course I didn't check the moon phase or whether the milky way would be visible in the sky beforehand...Alas, it was almost a full moon (thus obscuring the milky way) as well the milky way not being in the right position anyway! I should perhaps plan these a bit better...LOL
It was ridiculously cold so I didn't stay outside too long but I did get the following pics, the picture on the left shows the actual waterwheel itself. It's actually made from wood but is now calcified by lime and looks like rock! The pic on the right is from a slightly different angle and looks up to the Orion Constellation (aka the saucepan). I had an early start the next day and was freezing so went back to the room and into bed!
Saturday 6th May 2017
Was treated to a pretty nice sunrise at the harbour, which made the early start a little bit more bearable haha. The Allison Marie was a freaking amazing boat! I didn't realise how big it was until I was up along side it...it's like hugemongous!!! Once everyone was loaded we had a quick safety talk and then headed out to the shelf! It was awesome seeing the sun rise up above the ocean just out the harbour.
Now onto the birds!! I will spare the details of my sea sickness hahaha. I missed seeing some whale spouting and a shark (fin) due to feeling ill! :(
OK OK, here are the pics!
Aside from the seasickness I had a most epic time seeing birds I had never seen before! Big thanks to Plaxy and Dan from the Western Australian Birds Facebook Group for organising the trip and also big thanks to Naturaliste Charters for the most excellent boat and crew!
Couldn't resist a sunset shot as we headed back to the harbour at the end of the day!
I have way more pictures from this trip as I stayed in Augusta for a few more days afterwards but they will have to wait for the next blog post as this one is getting a little big already!