Day 1 Thursday – 21.3.19
5-10 knots all morning on the passage over, the passengers had a great time watching the gannets dive on bait balls and watch the dolphins ride the bow wave. After a quick muster drill and lunch we were off on a Pelsaert Island nature trek where we saw hundreds of birds, Common Noddies, Crested Terns, Osprey Eagles, Schools of Parrot Fish in the shallows, male Sea Lions and a Shovel Nose Shark just to name a few. We stopped into Basile Island to see Peter and Nino for a coffee while some of our passengers swam with the huge Samson Fish. It was good to see Nino back in fighting form after a physio visit last week but now Peter has a crook back – life of a resilient Cray fisherman. Even with Cyclone Victoria in the North there was still a cracker sunset!
Day 2 Friday – 22.3.19
Big Al managed to land a few jumbos with this morning’s Pot Pull, after a few photos we were off to Easter Group and to snorkel the squid hole while the sun was beaming. After a magnificent snorkel we headed over to Murrays Latitude Pearl Hatchery. We got to witness Murray do some tank changeovers. While the shore party was getting educated, we were on anchor out the front when the birthday boy Darren got a decent Pink Snapper. We all met back at the mooring while we rode out a blow created from cyclone Veronica up north. Lobster Tales, bridge, darts and bubbles was on the afternoon agenda finished off with a seafood dinner.
Day 3 Saturday – 23.3.19
Big Al only needed to pull 3 pots this morning to bag out with the crays. If the wind is in it doesn’t mean the crays stop coming over the side! Big Al knows where they live. We headed over to Morley Island where Paul and Trent took the passengers for an adventurous stroll looking for birds and sea lions. It was probably the best day of Sea Lion interaction we’ve ever had. 14 Sea Lions in all!! It was blowing a gale with TC Veronica up North sucking all the weather up the coast but that didn’t stop us from having amazing interactions with all the wildlife ashore on Morley. We finished the afternoon off safely on our mooring riding out the gale. With a seafood dinner, we didn’t have any complaints.
Day 4 Sunday – 24.3.19
Big Al had another day bagging out on the cray front. After linking up with him we towed the King Diver North to Wallabi group where we went to Webby Hayes fort to stretch the legs and get a real sense of adventure. After, we headed over to Wann Island where we tried our hand at fishing. Low and behold young George who had been trying to catch a fish the whole trip landed two good sized Baldchin Groupers off the back right on sunset! The fish went from sea to plate within an hour, I don’t even think it went in the esky. After another controversial Eco Abrolhos quiz we awarded a winner which was the Rat Island Rebels. Well done.
Day 5 Monday – 25.3.19
The wind eased this morning and swung around to the east which gave us perfect protection behind Long Island. Big Al managed to find some dinosaur crays on the morning put pull, 14 crays but probably the weight of 30. We ferried the passengers ashore to Long Island where we walked and snorkled. As soon as we pulled up we had a very curious Sea Lion coming in and wanting to play. After being a very patient Sea Lion we slipped in for a snorkel and the little female joined in. We all rendezvoused back on the boat where we said goodbye to our flyers and sailed home back to port.
For Paul our resident photographer/guide it was a pleasure to have photographer Georgina Steyler onboard. Georgina specialises in bird photography and won a category in the “Wildlife photographer of the year” awards for 2018 in London. She is the only Australian woman ever to have won this prestigious award. Between Paul and Georgina they had 9 pro DSLR bodies, 11 lenses and 2 underwater housings onboard & took over 25 000 photos over the 5 days.
They carried their bulky 600mm lenses on most of the walks and despite them taking heaps of great bird photos, the highlight photo was taken by Georgina of a Sea Lion that was trying to fly like a bird.
Thanks Georgina for sharing this amazing National Geographic quality photo with the staff and guests.
Congratulations to Darrin for catching this week’s most impressive fish.
From the Bridge Deck
– Bronson Cox