PORT O’CONNOR PELAGIC TRIP REPORT I – June 24, 1995

Aboard  the Chip XI
Report Transcribed from 1996 Texas Deepwater Pelagic Trips Newsletter

Copyrighted By: Dwight Peake and Mark Elwonger

Calm Seas and Five State Records!

The  June pelagic trip from Port O’Connor will always be remembered by all participants for its slick, glassy seas and excellent visibility, offering   great views of a wide v ariety of different marine life. The first of thirty-one Band-rumped Storm-Petrels (a record number for Texas) appeared 30 minutes short of crossing the 100-fathom curve. Guarding this continental   boundary was a sailfish, followed two minutes later by several flocks of   Band- rumps (totaling 15 in all). The action continued with a pod of whales   surfacing a few hundred yards nearby, and Band-rumps continued to appear at half-hour intervals, offering great looks to all observers.

Everyone had ample opportunities to learned the field marks and jizz from close   encounters with many Band-rumps in the next few hours. Around noon, a very   large shark appeared in one of the numerous schools of feeding tuna.  Returning to the Sargasso mats and weedlines near the shelf, where we were   surrounded by several pods of over 50 bottle-nosed dolphins, we spotted the  first of three Bridled Terns, and a Leach’s Storm-Petrel appeared. Five  minutes later, an Audubon’s Shearwater was approached on the surface,   allowing good photo documentation of field-marks while sitting and in flight.   And shortly afterward, a larger shearwater was spotted in the distance.   Pursuit in our 17-knot Chip IX managed to eventually bring us close enough to  determine that it was not a Cory’s as originally expected- but a Greater Shearwater for the second year in a row and only the 6th Texas record (when   accepted by TBRC).

Returning across the continental shelf, a leather- backed turtle surfaced just feet  from our bow to show us its melon-sized head, ridged back, and remora escorts.

Species Seen:

Greater Shearwater – 1

Audubon’s Shearwater – 1

Leach’s Storm-Petrel – 2

Band-rumped Storm-Petrel – 31

Bridled Tern – 3

 

GOOGLE MAP OF PELGAGIC TRIP COURSE COORDINATES:

View 1994 + 1995 Texas Pelagics Tracks in a larger map

Click on the box in the upper left of the map to view the map legend.

Click on each Pelagic Course and the data label will appear with the date of the trip.

OCEANOGRAPHIC CONDITIONS:

seasurface_19950624

Leave a Reply