CAPE PELAGIC TRIP

We ask participants to meet at 6:45 a.m. at the Simon’s Town harbor, for departure around 7:00 a.m. If you need a transfer, please e-mail info@birdingecotours.com

We then head out of the beautiful False Bay, sailing very close to the dramatic sea cliffs of Cape Point, Africa’s southwestern-most tip. Before leaving the bay, we will already encounter our first pelagic seabirds, such as Sooty Shearwater. Both species of Giant Petrel, Northern and Southern, White-chinned Petrel, and occasionally Spectacled Petrel are also usually close inshore. But the greatest spectacles await us when we reach the rich trawling grounds 30 km or so beyond Cape Point. Literally thousands of albatrosses, petrels, pattering flocks of storm petrels, and many others gather around hake-fishing boats. This is one of the most unbelievably amazing spectacles that any birder can experience! Some people are wary of seasickness, but for those who brave this, pelagic trips can be true highlights of any birding career. With luck, we may also find Bryde’s whale and other whale species, Cape fur seal, and dolphins. The boat returns to the harbor at about 3:00 p.m.

The guide for day trips is allocated only after you have booked, as all of them are run as private trips. But we always use the country’s top birding guides.

The price is R1900, with occasional discounts to R1700 (please ask). This is based on a group size of 8 – 10 participants plus the guide.

Preparation for a Pelagic Trip:

This applies to our Cape Town pelagic trips. Please note that by request we also arrange 1-day pelagic trips in Mozambique, Namibia, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, etc., and these notes generally apply for those as well.  A pelagic trip is run over the course of one day and involves heading out into the open ocean in search of various species only occurring out at sea. While this is a truly spectacular adventure, one must remember that we are always at the mercy of the ever-changing sea conditions.

The vessel will depart from the specified port around sunrise and venture out into the ocean for usually a maximum distance of 30 nautical miles from land. Off southern Africa this is usually the ‘drop zone’, where deep water is present and many fishing vessels operate. On a pelagic trip we strive to try and find a fishing vessel, whether it be a trawler or a long-liner, as they attract huge masses of birds. We spend most of the day out at sea (depending on weather and sea conditions) and return to our port of departure in the afternoon (usually any time between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.). We provide a light lunch on board with various snacks, eats, and drinks, although if you should want anything specific we recommend that you bring it yourself.

A pelagic trip is booked over two consecutive days (usually a weekend). The first day is used as the primary day, but should the previous day’s weather forecast indicate that sea and/or weather conditions will prove more adverse on the first day, yet better on the second day, the pelagic trip will go ahead on the second day. However, it is possible that the trip may not go ahead at all due to adverse conditions over the entire two-day period. This is, unfortunately, not something we can predict and reliably confirm far in advance, and we are at the mercy of the weather/sea conditions and the word from our very experienced skippers, who ultimately give the final approval. Your safety on board the vessel is of paramount importance to us, and should the conditions of the sea prove to be too dangerous, the vessel will not go out. The pelagic trip is confirmed by the skipper either way a few days before it is due to depart. We will keep you informed about the decision.

What you will require:

A seasonality table for species possible on the Cape Town pelagic tour can be found at http://birdingecotours.com/pelagic-birding-with-birding-ecotours/.

Duration:        1 day

Limit:                8 – 10

Dates:

2017 Schedule

15/16 July – 6 places remaining

12/13 August – 4 places remaining

3/4 September – fully booked

16/17 September – 7 places remaining

14/15 October – 6 places remaining

18/19 November – 7 places remaining

Start:                 Simon’s Town

End:                   Simon’s Town

Price:                 R1900, with occasional discounts to R1700 (please ask)