Extension 1: Pelagic Day Trip from Eaglehawk Neck
Just after breakfast, we will leave the hotel at 6:30 AM for the 15-minute drive to Eaglehawk Neck boat ramp. Your guide for the day will meet you at the boat ramp for some brief instructions before you depart at 7:00.
Today we will make our way into the vastness of the Southern Ocean in quest of pelagic birds. High species diversity and the nearness of the continental shelf have earned Tasmania an international reputation as an excellent place to see pelagic species. Not long after you depart Pirate’s Bay you will encounter Short-tailed Shearwater in considerable numbers as well as your first albatross species. This is one of the finest places on the planet to see a diversity of albatrosses, and Wandering Albatross (subspecies antipodensis, New Zealand Albatross), Black-browed Albatross (including the Campbell type), Shy Albatross, Royal Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Light-mantled Albatross and Yellow-nosed Albatross are all possible. With land still in sight, you will reach the continental shelf and begin to chum off the back of the boat. Possible petrels include Great-winged Petrel, the striking White-headed Petrel, Gould’s Petrel and Mottled Petrel. Shearwater diversity is also good, with Hutton’s Shearwater, Buller’s Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater (common in Tasmanian waters) and Fluttering Shearwater all possible. Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Grey-backed Storm Petrel, White-faced Storm-Petrel and Fairy Prion are also regularly seen. There are often surprises in store and with 30-plus species possible in these waters, there is bound to be something new for everyone. Mammals we may encounter include Cape Fur Seal, Humpback Whale and Common Bottlenose Dolphin.
Other species that we might encounter are Salvin’s Albatross; Southern Giant Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel, Black-faced Cormorant, Australasian Gannet, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Silver Gull, Pacific Gull, Great Crested Tern and Parasitic Jaeger.
The boat will be back at Eaglehawk Neck at the end of the day. After we shake off our shaky sea legs, which can go quick once on land, we will drive to our nearby hotel for some rest and then supper after a while.
Please note that pelagic trips can range in price a great deal depending upon participation. With a group of six to eight, the pelagic price can range from about 400 to 500 AUD per person (as an example).
Photo by P. Brooks