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Texas Pelagics 2017 Schedule Update.

Hi  Pelagic Fanatics, Registrations for this year’s Texas Pelagics trips have been very slow so far this year.  I guess I need to do a lot more reminding our seabirding enthusiasts that the time is at hand to make your plans for this summer’s Texas Pelagics trips. At this point we are however far too undersubscribed to be able to run the July 22nd Texas Pelagic that was planned from Port Aransas, so this trip has been cancelled. I have also decided to make the August 26th trip from South Padre Island a 12 hour trip instead of a 16 hour adventure. The updated schedule can be found here: http://texaspelagics.com/2017-schedule/  WHY GO ON A TEXAS PELAGIC? Short answer – they are a lot of FUN!! If you talk to any of the Texas Pelagic leaders and regulars they’ll probably tell you some of the most amazing bird and wildlife encounters they’ve ever had in the state of Texas occurred on a Texas Pelagic.  Our experiences from 2015 and 2016 indicate that with more frequent coverage by pelagic trips we are much more likely to have a few exceptional Pelagic birding days in the season. This is probably due improving our odds of hitting favorable current, wind and sea conditions for seabirds that occur every so often in the deep Gulf off South Padre.   If you’ve never been on a Texas Pelagic this is the year you should try one or two. If it’s been a long time since you’ve been on a Texas Pelagic come back this year and see how much fun they can be. If you’re afraid of seasickness try using the Transderm Scop patch (prescription needed) and enjoy a day at sea with our great pelagic leaders and groups. These trips are also a great way to spend a hot summer weekend out birding where it...

2015 Trips Status Update

Sign-ups for the 2105 season have been brisk. At this point we have enough people to run 3 trips. And a fourth trip is going ahead even though it’s short on participants because the leaders are really interested in exploring this under-birded season. The June 13th Texas Pelagic will be run even though we are short on participants signed-up. All of our leaders believe this season has good potential so they are all chipping in for full fare to make this trip go. As one of our leaders John O’Brien stated ” I am particularly keen to get an early season trip in because that is the time that corresponds to a very interesting diversity of Pterodroma in North Carolina. We can always hope.” And I agree whole heartedly. I hope some more people will sign-up so we can really reach full participation, but never-the-less we are going. It really is a season that deserves to be explored offshore Texas. The July 11th Texas Pelagic now has almost enough people signed-up that we are ready to call this trip a go. I’m confident that this first ever 16 hour Texas Pelagic from South Padre will get the remaining support it needs to fill the boat. So why not join us for the first Texas Pelagic to explore out to the Camel’s Head Seamount! The August 29th Texas Pelagic is a definite go as we have almost filled the boat and there is only one opening left. This will be the second 16 hour Texas Pelagic run ever to the Camel’s Head Seamount. I’m not aware of a Texas Pelagic that has ever almost sold out so far in advance of the trip date. A good sign I hope. The Sept 19th Texas Pelagic trip has also reached the minimum number of participants needed to make this trip go. There...

Why run a 16 Hour Texas Pelagic?

I don’t think I adequately explained the reason for the two longer 16 hour trips we are scheduling this year. Along the Atlantic and especially the Pacific Coasts deep pelagic waters are much close to shore and easy to reach in a short time. Unfortunately along the Texas Gulf coast the continental shelf is very wide and it takes almost 4 hours to reach the edge of the shelf at South Padre Island even where the continental shelf is at it’s narrowest 50 miles width compared to everywhere else in Texas. So true pelagic waters of depths greater than 600 feet are only birded for 4 hours out of a 12 hour trip. Still we usually see pelagic species that frequently wander up onto the shelf during the other 8 hours during which we are commuting to Pelagic Waters. Twelve hours has typically been a trip length cut-off because of maritime laws that limit a captain to one 12 hour shift. Anything longer requires a second captain on board which adds to the cost. So we tried to make the best of the 12 hour time frame on Texas Pelagics for the past 14 years from South Padre Island. However just beyond the reach of a 12 hour round trip there is a huge seamount called the Camel’s Head. The Camels head rises from great depths of over 4,000 ft to about 2,000′ in just a few miles. I’ve always wondered what could lurk out there that we don’t know about. The Camel’s Head is a well-known tuna fishing area, which to me means there must be seabirds out there too. And if it attracts tuna, then surely whale sharks are present and probably marine mammals as well. We’ve seen Sperm Whales closer in than the Camel’s Head so my guess is that they would be more common on such a prominent feature on...

Preview of 2015 Texas Pelagic Plans

“What’s new and different for 2015?” After years of experimenting with different headings for the South Padre Island Texas Pelagic trips we have settled on a due easterly course to reach the shelf edge in fewer miles and quicker time. The trade off is that on days with rougher sea conditions we have more spray on the windward side of the boat and use more fuel but reaching the shelf edge quicker means more time in DEEP water so it is worth it. In 2015 we will schedule 6 trips, more trips than ever before. A possible 7th trip may be run prior to the RGVBF if there is sufficient demand, to be determined later in the season.  The most trips successfully run in one year was 5 in 2004 by the World Birding Center. It is no coincidence that this was following the Sept 2003 Yellow-nosed Albatross find!  The schedule is not yet finalized and I am not yet taking reservations. We will experiment with two extended 16 hour trips to explore farther out than ever before all the way to the Camel’s Head. The Osprey will be newly refurbished for next year and according to the owner it should be much more comfortable and will offer more amenities. The new osprey will be Coast Guard rated for 100 miles and 70 people. The rear upper deck has been expanded with passenger seating added. It is open and uncovered for superb viewing. Floors are carpeted inside the dry cabin. All exterior decks are rubberized. Will seat 30 inside. New 5-ton A/C Restrooms with A/C Onboard WIFI communication for 2 leaders to broadcast to PA system from anywhere on the boat to speakers which are now located on all sides of the boat. Snack and Drink Bar- Now what will birders do with a bar? Take a Look at the Newly Renovated Osprey After such an exciting finish to...

Completed Texas Pelagic Trips in 2014

Eric Carpenter is taking a well deserved break from organizing the Texas Pelagics this year so I have volunteered to organize them for this year. I am pleased to announce that there will be 4 Texas Pelagic birding trips out of South Padre Island this summer & fall.  The dates for the trips are: Sat July 19th – Trip Successfully Completed – See Trip Report Sat August 16th  – Trip Successfully Completed – See Trip Report Sat September 20th – Trip Successfully Completed – See Trip Report Sat October 25th – Trip Successfully Completed – See Trip Report These are not-for-profit trips that I am organizing where the cost per participant is $150. I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in these trips to contact me garyhodne@earthlink.net for more details and reservations soon as possible. We need to have enough participants two and half weeks in advance of each trip to ensure we can cover the cost of the charter. These trips leave from near the southern tip of South Padre Island, aboard the Osprey (http://ospreycruises.com/osprey-fishing-trips/).   The good folks at Osprey Cruises have been involved with Texas Pelagics for over 14 years and their captains are familiar with where we need to go and also are quite good at spotting birds with us.   These are all-day trips, leaving the docks at 6am, and returning 12 hours later at 6pm. We motor out to deep-water (takes about 4 hours to get there), spend the next several hours working the area just off the shelf, and then return back to dry land by around 6pm.  Leaders for these three trips will include Eric Carpenter, Mary Gustafson, Brad McKinney, Petra Hockey, Randy Pinkston, John O’Brien, Dwight Peake and myself.  Each of these leaders are passionate about Texas Pelagics and have more experience on that anyone else in the offshore Texas Gulf of...

Completed Texas Pelagic Trips for 2013

From: Eric Carpenter Date: June 4, 2013, 11:33:16 PM CDT Subject: SPI Gulf of Mexico Pelagic Trips this summer/fall (27 July, 28 September) Texbirders and pelagic junkies, I am pleased to announce that there will be 2 pelagic birding trips  out of Port Isabel/South Padre Island this summer & fall. The dates  for the trips are: Saturday, July 27th  Successfully Completed! See Trip Report. Saturday, September 28th Successfully Completed, See Trip Report These are not-for-profit trips that I am organizing where the cost per participant is $150. I would like to encourage anyone who is interested in these trips to contact me (ecarpe@gmail.com) for more details and reservation info as soon as is convenient. We need to have enough participants two and half weeks in advance of each trip to ensure we can cover the cost of  the charter. These trips leave from the southern tip of South Padre Island, aboard the Osprey (http://ospreycruises.com/osprey-fishing-trips/).   The good folks at Osprey Cruises have been involved with Texas pelagics for over a dozen years and their captains are familiar with where we need to go and also are quite good at spotting birds with us.   These are all-day trips, leaving the docks at around 6am, and returning 12 hours later at 6pm. We motor out to deepwater (takes a couple hours to get there), spend the next several hours working the area just off the shelf, and then return back to dry land by around 6pm. Leaders for  these three trips will include Mary Gustafson, Brad McKinney, Petra  Hockey, Randy Pinkston and myself.  I’ve been out on the Gulf with each of these folks multiple times and their passion for birds and pelagics is on par with my own. These Gulf of Mexico trips don’t yield gaudy numbers of birds but we seem to always make up for it with a high quality...