1 Flesh-footed Shearwater
5 Great-winged Petrels
A two vessel pelagic took place out of Simonstown on Saturday 6th January. The catamaran 'Obession' skippered by Dave Christy along with Chris and Monique Fallows' 'White Pointer' set off at 7.30 am, guided by Barrie Rose and Meidad Goren. The wind was 10 knots southwest and the sky overcast. The run to Cape Point was comfortable, uneventful and sublimely quick (at 35 knots!!)
Outside Cape Point the wind was southwesterly 12 knots, our course was directly into the wind and a building swell. Our first pelagics were small numbers of Sooty and Cory's Shearwaters in the Bellows Rock area. A loose aggregation of Common and Swift Terns was accompanied by 2 or 3 Arctic Skuas and at 4 miles a Pomarine Skua crossed our bow. From about 6 miles we moved through rain squall after rain squall until we arrived at the fishing grounds 16 miles offshore where we found 4 hake long-liners preparing to haul their lines. During the trip out and, in between the rain we had added White-chinned Petrel and Shy Albatross to our list. One of our vessels crossed the path of a school of Common Dolphin and amongst the attending shearwaters was a Manx.
We pulled in behind the vessel 'Sea Pride 2' as it started hauling its line. Bird numbers grew quickly with all four of the regular albatross species being present. Common and Arctic Terns, Sabine's and Kelp Gulls were really numerous. Smaller numbers of Arctic and Pomarine Skuas were joined by a rather confiding Long-tailed Skua. On at least 5 occasions GREAT-WINGED PETRELS passed on the outer fringes of the flock and a FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER gave a good account of itself allowing all to get good views of this fairly unobtrusive species.
A large bull seal provided quite a spectacle as it broke up a huge (15kg) deep-water octopus less than 10m from us. At midday a rising wind and sea caused us to head for home. A quick stop at Partridge Point confirmed the continued presence of Bank Cormorants on their nest site and we docked at 1330.