- Thousands of Antarctic
- Mid-winter Manx Shearwater
- 3 Humpback Whales
- 2 satellite-tagged albatrosses
A select group of people were invited to join a Cape Town
Pelagics trip on the inaugural trip of Obsession, a brand
new vessel available exclusively to Cape Town Pelagics.; What
a stunning boat: large, luxurious, with sheltered, padded
seating, a fly-bridge, full walk-around and acres of space
fore and aft. With a top speed in excess of 40 knots, Obsession
is REALLY fast! We set off in idyllic conditions, led by Ross
Wanless and assisted by Barrie Rose, Barrie Watkins and Sam
Petersen. We made Cape Point just as the sun peeked over the
eastern mountains and lit-up the dramatic cliffs with a spectacular,
warm orange glow. Things only got better from then on! Shortly
beyond the point we had picked up several petrels and shearwaters,
when Barrie Rose saw a humpback whale in a partial breach.
We were able to get fabulous views as the three very accommodating
whales did their thing. A little further on and we go onto
our first ANTARCTIC PRION of the day. Next up was a very rare
sight for a mid-winter pelagic out of Cape Town - a MANX SHEARWATER.
Dave Christie put Obsession though her paces and we were able
to catch up with the little bird, confirm its ID and get great
repeat views. Shortly thereafter we were treated to one of
the most fantastic sights imaginable on a pelagic: thousands
and thousands of Antarctic Prions in a relatively dense flock.
They had aggregated around a current line and it was amazing
to be completely surrounded by so many individuals of a species
of which one seldom sees more than a handful in a single trip.
We found two trawlers at about 23 miles from the point. The
first boat had just finished processing her small catch, so
the birds had already dissipated. We sped off to the second
trawler, working in the opposite direction and a couple of
miles away. We arrived as she began processing the catch and
were treated to a classic show of thousands of petrels and
albatrosses competing for the discards. Then we moved between
trawlers and a couple of longliners, assisting Sam Petersen
from the Save the Albatross Campaign, who was there to attach
transmitters to albatrosses. It was superb for everyone on
board to see the research being done and to get so close to
these magnificent birds.
The day ended on a high note of a different kind, as we presented
Sam with a cheque for the Save the Albatross Campaign, to
the value of the Cape Town Pelagics profits from last year's
operations. It was a great pleasure having Sam and her team
on board and CTP are very proud to be able to support seabird
conservation and research of this nature.