As we left Hobart the ships seabird expert Chris made the bold statement we’d see our first albatross just as we left Storm Bay… it turned out we saw a Shy Albatross even earlier, just before we left the Derwent River.
The Shy Albatross is anything but shy, and has been the most common albatross species we’ve seen on our crossing of Bass Straight. They are beautiful birds that exhibit a mastery of flight in a way only an albatross can.
Under supervision of Dr. Jennifer Lavers our mission on this expedition to find seabird foraging areas and survey them for plastic pollution, as well as document the wildlife we encounter. We’ll be stopping in at communities along the way, running beach clean-ups and giving public presentations on our experiences.
Our first destination is Flinders Island, though unfortunately the weather has other ideas… We hole up under the Freycinet Peninsula dodging high winds and seas. Brian’s Corner is a remote though comfortable anchorage, from our vessel we can see plastic pollution on the beach.
After a cosy night we head north again, the seas are lumpy, the wind unfavourable. As we approach Flinders Island it becomes obvious we won’t make a landing in time to meet our commitments so we elect to carry on straight to Eden. We later get news the school kid’s will go ahead with their clean up without us, once the weather clears! – We are looking forward to the pictures.
The crossing of Bass Straight was windy and rough, near gale conditions and swells meeting from two directions. Not only does this make for tough sailing, it means we are unable to put our plastic trawl out.
We finally sight land after 36 hours and slip into smoother waters in the shelter of the mainland, steadily making our way up towards Eden. Before making landfall we head out to the continental shelf and deploy our trawl, not a huge haul of plastic, but heaps of salps and sea jellies fill our net.
A visual survey from deck spots polystyrene fragments, packaging foam, balloon fragments and even a scrubbing brush bristle!
On the final approach to the port of Eden we are mugged by humpback whales, they come right up to the rail, spy-hopping and swimming around the ship coming as close as possible without touching us. Even the most hardened seafarers among us can’t hide their excitement at this awesome encounter.
Join the East Coast Odyssey for half day sails on its voyage to Sydney http://eastcoastodyssey.wildiaries.com
Image from the trip: