Monday, September 12, 2011
"How long has it been since you've done a pelagic?" Michael O'Brien asked me as we headed back to port.
"East coast pelagic, and like 10 years."
I'm not, and the "east coast" distinction is important, since something like 10 west coast pelagics have come and gone since my last east coast foray. That is, before I got on the boat Saturday at midnight to join many good friends for a Tom Reed - orchestrated trip to Wilmington Canyon. West coast pelagics spoil you, like, for example, you don't have to get on the boat at midnight so you can get to deep water in daylight! A 5000+ foot deep submarine canyon comes right into Monterey Bay, to name one favorite pelagic place.
Truly, it was the friends that lured me as much as the birds - hanging out with the likes of TR, Tony Leukering, Dave La Puma, Scott Whittle, Michael O'Brien, Bob Fogg, Sam Galick, Glen Davis, Tom Magarian, Tom Johnson, et. al., people who I spend entirely too little time with anymore, and people who I want on my team for any birding anywhere - because I knew if anything, ANYTHING flew near that boat, someone of us was going to get on it, name it, photograph it, sign, seal and deliver it. Friends like this are good to have, and that's only one reason. And seeing old friends from north Jersey like Pete Kwiatek, compiler of the Hunterdon CBC, or Jim Zamos, or the Senchers, Frank Jr. and Sr., was a bonus.
As noted above and in my posts from the boat below, we set engine at midnight, and started with the Brown Booby on its channel marker as we passed. Most of us slept on the deck, a feeling I love though a fog bank dampened the experience, literally, because I was sound asleep on my thermarest and was too lazy to pull on raingear before I was pretty damp. Once through the fog, it was a beautiful night, and by dawn we were chumming with oil, fish bits, and Scott's special suet.
Truly, I wasn't expecting the day we had. East coast pelagics for me have been a whole lot of time in a boat, and not lots of birds to show. Luckily, and I'm knocking on wood as I write, I've never once been seasick, and never have had to worry about a patch or a pill to prevent it, either, so at least I knew I'd be comfortable staring at waves under a birdless horizon. But the horizon was anything but birdless, and the waves held bounty too. I'll let the pictures do the talking from here. . .
Posted by Don Freiday at 10:41 AM