Subject: South Padre Island Pelagic Report August 21, 2010 sometimes the seas don't cooperate
Date: Mon, 23 Aug 2010 18:23:35
From: Eric Carpenter
If conditions on the July 17th pelagic trip were amongst the most favorable seas we've experienced, then this past Saturday's
(21 Aug) pelagic trip out of South Padre Island may have encountered some of the most uncomfortable. In the days prior to the
trip, the wave forecast kept on changing though I was still a little hopeful at the dock in the morning when Friday's stiff
winds seemed to have died down a bit. Though initially the seas were not as bad as I had feared, the winds did pick up again
and the sea did not react in a favorable manner. Waves and swells during the day were certainly averaging in the 4-6 foot
range with numerous rolling 7 and 8 footers thrown in for good measure. In order to make for a smoother ride, we had to
alter our course a bit more to the north than usual to get out beyond the continental shelf in reasonable shape.
As a result of the seas, the wind and the changed course, we had a rather disappointing day when it came to pelagic species.
We did have a nice look at an adult male Magnificent Frigatebird on an anchored shrimp boat and some folks had a look at a
distant Cory's Shearwater as well as a glimpse of a sterna sp. (possible Bridled Tern) in deep water, but that was all we
could manage outside the usual assortment of coastal gulls & terns and some flyby shorebirds. Non-avian highlights would
have to be a small group of offshore/pelagic Bottlenose Dolphins that were excitedly leaping out of the water to catch up
to the boat plus the Mahi-Mahi hooked by the first-mate and reeled in by one of our participants (and I understand it was delicious).
Despite the uncomfortable conditions, all the participants, a few who were on their first Gulf pelagic, seemed quite understanding
as there wasn't much we could do with what nature gave us on this day. Hopefully, the September 11th trip will have something
more substantial to report back on.
-- Eric Carpenter Austin