2017/2018 Winter Trips

2017 – December 28 (obligatory weather date of the 29th) meeting time 6:30am

2018 Winter Rates and Information

January 27 (28)

February 10 (11) / 17, 18 (19) / 24 (25)

             *Price $169 per person per day

             *Price for both trips President’s Day Weekend $320

               *Meeting time : 0600 at either Hatteras Landing Marina in Hatteras, NC or Wanchese, NC  (we will send directions to you via email with your confirmation)

*Limited to only 20 spaces per day (#’s limited for everyone’s comfort)  Well heated cabin.

Weather is often a factor on winter trips.  In some cases, strong winds force us to remain ashore for a day and or limit the distance we can travel on a trip.  With this in mind, our winter trips always have a weather date to give participants a good chance to get offshore.  In 2007 we took it a step further to include a weather port, and we will continue with this option in 2018.

In the past, nearly all of our NC winter trips have departed from Hatteras Inlet because it was difficult for find a US Coast Guard inspected vessel available to run trips for us departing from Oregon Inlet.  This is no longer an issue since we now have our own vessel for use on these trips.

Our primary departure point for the winter trips will be Hatteras, NC.  There are times , however, when we will operate from Oregon Inlet, departing from Wanchese harbor.  When the wind is blowing hard from the southwest, Hatteras Inlet can be quite rough and the ocean waters on the leeward side of Hatteras Island are easier to reach from Oregon Inlet.  The resultant upwelling off the north beach during these conditions is also attractive to a variety of seabirds.  During most winter days, and particularly when there is large swell and or a brisk northeasterly wind, Hatteras is a better departure point than Oregon Inlet.  The inlet there is sheltered from the swell, and this allows us to run trips on days we could not from Oregon Inlet or Va. Beach.  We have seen many Great Skuas closer to Hatteras Inlet than Oregon Inlet, even on trips that have traveled north of Diamond Shoals.  Two of our February Hatteras trips even found Yellow-nosed Albatross just three miles off Avon and another a Black-browed Albatross just a mile off the beach in Hatteras!

Over the years our North Carolina trips have been very productive for seeing a variety of alcids, Great Skua, and other seabirds not frequently seen on our spring and summer trips such as : Northern Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Red Phalarope, and Black-legged Kittiwake.  In the winter of 2012 we saw record numbers of Dovekie from Hatteras with over 800 counted in one day! While our trips off the Virginia Capes have been more consistent in finding Dovekie and Atlantic Puffin, the waters near Cape Hatteras seem better than those off the Virginia Capes for Great Skua and large numbers of Razorbill.  Although Virginia Beach is a more convenient departure point for many of you, the breadth of the continental shelf makes these trips much longer in duration than our trips from Hatteras or Oregon Inlets.  Good winter birding is much closer to shore here, in some cases, 40 or 50 miles closer than off the coast of Virginia.