Spring 2017 Schedule
Spring Blitz: DAILY trips May 20 – June 4th
June 9, 10, 23, 24
Summer 2017 Schedule
July 7, 8, 21, 28, & 29
August 11, 12, 25, 26, & 27
*2017 Price: $169 per person per day (*$9 off on each Hatteras trip for two or more days in a 10 day period – so $160 per person/day)
*Spring Blitz Special $155 per person per day if you take 5 or more trips with us from May 20 – June 4
*Meeting time 5:15 am at Hatteras Landing Marina in Hatteras, NC for Hatteras trips from May to late June; 5:30 July to early August (8/12); 5:45 late August to early September; 6:15 for September 29 & 30
*Duration : 10 to 11 hours
As in the past, we are open for charters if you would like to organize your own group of participants for a day offshore!
Most of the pelagic trips we run during the warmer months visit the Gulf Stream- a highly dynamic, warm water current that passes very close to Cape Hatteras. The Gulf Stream moves generally in a northeasterly direction. Near Cape Hatteras, the Gulf Stream meets the southbound Labrador Current. The latter is a cold water current, which has considerably less velocity than the Gulf Stream, but nevertheless plays and important part in creating the dynamic marine ecosystem along the west wall of the Gulf Stream. The west wall of the Gulf Stream is usually 20 to 25 miles from Hatteras Inlet.
While many species of pelagic seabirds feed primarily along the west wall of the Gulf Stream, some, such as the Black-capped Petrel (a regional specialty) are found primarily a few miles seaward of the Gulf Stream edge. Others, such as tropicbirds, may be found in the relatively unproductive Gulf Stream interior.
On some days the west wall of the Gulf Stream is easy to spot, as cobalt blue water meets shelf water that is green “as a gourd”. At other times, particularly if the stream is a bit farther offshore, the change might be subtle and there can be a large area of “blended water” between the shelf water and the axis of the stream. The axis is where the “hard current” is located. The current generally flows on a northeasterly heading at about 2 to 4 knots.
There are a number of seabirds typically associated with Gulf Stream water in the western North Atlantic. These are Black-capped Petrel, Audubon’s Shearwater, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, White-tailed Tropicbird, Red-billed Tropicbird, Masked Booby, and Bridled & Sooty Terns. Many of the rarities we see, Bermuda Petrel, Fea’s Petrel, & Trindade Petrel, are seldom found away from this feature, but that might be more of a coincidence than a real association, because we see a number of cold-temperature species in the Gulf Stream with great frequency, Great Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, & Wilson’s Storm-Petrel.
In any event, for most of the spring and summer, the Gulf Stream off Cape Hatteras is probably the most consistent (and convenient) place in the western North Atlantic for finding a variety of pelagic seabirds on any given day. Getting there usually only takes between 2 to 2.5 hours of traveling each direction, so most of our day is spent in or along the Gulf Stream.