Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pelagic trip.

With Dr Jim Fowler as my guest it was with some trepidation I agreed to head out to sea on a smallish fishing boat to look for sea birds. We joined the Southern Ocean Seabird Study Association at Wollongong Harbour at 7am on a bright autumn morning.

Why trepidation? I don't like boats. I tolerate them, but I find them too slow and, as a friend said "But Simon you are a Piscean and, as a fish, you would not like to be on a trawler!" I used to sail every Sunday on Sydney Harbour and out over the horizon. I loathed it, (Sorry uncle).

We met up with a group of 20 or so enthusiasts. Now- I like bird watching a lot but I am not a "twitcher". What is a twitcher? A person who gets SO nervous and excited about seeing a new bird they "twitch". I have heard of stories of a twitcher who left his wife on their wedding night simply to look at a rare bird....(I could go on about getting priorities right in the bird department but i digress).

So within a few minutes of departing the harbour, excited yelling became part of the days activities as each twitcher became increasingly excited (some hysterical) with being the first to spot a new bird.

However- I have never seen Albatross before so it was a life time event and one I would not miss. Below are the birds I saw. All photos by Dr Jim Fowler:-

Black Browed Albatross

Campbells Albatross

Bullers Albatross

Shy Albatross

Yellow Nosed Albatross

Crested Tern

Providence Petrel

The work Done by SOSSA is vital in monitoring the health and population of these magnificent birds. Long Line Tuna fishing kills Albatross at a huge rate and its important that all of us be aware that "dolphin safe" does not mean "wildlife safe".

After 9 hours at sea, and several moment where I wanted to return my breakfast to the deep we returned to Harbour. I have to confess- this was a life time moment. The birds are simply the most beautiful I have seen. The way they fly is magnificent. I am grateful for the experience.

NEXT:- Australia's Pastoral history..


  1. they do look quite elegant !

  2. Simon, tu es un vrai marin!

    Anon: Non, non, c'est moi, bien sûr! Je me passionne pour mon cheval!

  3. Simon, tu es un vrai marin!

    Anon: Non, non, c'est moi, bien sûr! Je me passionne pour mon cheval!

  4. Oh wow Simon - how wonderful!
    (Also, I feel for you mate, I'm not good with boats either.)

    What an experience!

  5. Jim has passed away.... :o(

  6. Simon - I am so sorry to have rec'd your email about Dr. Fowler. He must have been amazing - to get you out on that trip. Also he was a terrific photographer. I hope you'll feel well enough soon to tell us a little about him & about your friendship.

    xoxoxo from DC

    Susan & little Julie

  7. I am so sorry, Simon. I know that he was your dear, dear friend. I will miss him more than he would have ever suspected.

  8. Photos are fab Simon.. but sorry to hear your sad news about your friend.. ciao xx Julie

  9. I didn't realise your role... a terrible position to be in.

  10. Oh Simon, how dreadful it fell to you to break that awful news to his family (hugs). Jim led a rich and full life, and although he was taken far too soon, it's a small comfort to know he went out whilst doing what he loved the best.