Providence Petrel in flight over blue ocean
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A Great-winged Petrel seen on my first SOSSA trip

What is SOSSA? Well, SOSSA is the Southern Ocean Seabird Study Association, and it runs boat trips out past the Continental Shelf from Kiama (mainly) and Wollongong, NSW. I have been on three trips with them now, July 2015, November 2015 and February 2016, and they were all fantastically well run and very informative. Not only that, I got to see [and photograph] dozens of birds that I have never seen before, and that I probably never would have seen unless I was in a boat way out at sea!

Although the trips can be rough (those of you that suffer from motion sickness would be well-advised to dose up on Quells before you go) and you are out at sea for up 8 hours, the birds you get to see outweigh any personal discomfort you might experience. On the three trips I have been on so far I have seen over 30 species of seabird, including 8 species of Albatross, and most of these are new speices for my life list. The cost of the trips is a very reasonable $130.00, which is a tax deductable donation, and is a cheap day out in a boat by anyone’s standards.

On my latest trip (yesterday!), I was luck to see a Streaked shearwater, a new species for me and for a few other on board as well no doubt.


The experienced members of SOSSA, that go out on the boat with you, are very friendly and very informative. Lindsey Smith is normally on board, and has over 40 yrs of working knowledge on the birds of the region, and his stories, identification skills and random facts are better than any field guide you might consider bringing. My main piece of advice – bring a raincoat for you and your camera!

You can read more on the SOSSA website about what they do.


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