Saturday morning saw excited birders boarding the Obsession in the Simon’s Town harbour. Shortly after 07h00 we were steaming out of the harbour and into the still dark False Bay. The Obsession cruised along at a good speed and we were soon at Cape Point. It was light enough to allow some photographic opportunities of the impressive landmark. Shortly after the point we started picking up our first pelagic birds with White-chinned Petrels, Sooty Shearwaters and a solitary Subantarctic Skua all putting in an appearance. It was not long before we encountered our first albatross of the day, a juvenile Yellow-nosed. This was soon followed by a Shy Albatross and our first Pintado Petrels and Antarctic Prions of the trip.
On arrival at the trawling grounds we could not help but notice the conspicuous lack of fishing vessels. Eventually the skipper Dave managed to locate a solitary longliner at 26 miles. By this stage we had added Wilson's Storm-Petrel and Southern Giant Petrels to the list. We spent some time in the wake of the small longliner getting ever increasingly better views of all the species mentioned above as well as a few adult Indian Ocean Yellow-nosed and several Black-browed Albatross. One of the highlights was the Baxter's Lanternshark (Etmopterus baxteri) which had been discarded by the longliner. One of the passengers reacted quickly and managed to bring this small deep sea shark on board. It was a great opportunity to examine this specialised animal close up. The trip back was somewhat uneventful, except for a good sighting of a pair of Humpbacked Whales near the Point. One individual had a very large rounded dorsal fin which created some confusion until this majestic creature allowed better views.