Day tripping … with purpose, and albatross
Lindsay Smith is an ornithologist. His passion is birds, seabirds and, in particular, the albatross – the largest and the most spectacular seabird species in our world. His greatest fear is that the species will become extinct and that future generations won’t even know what they are missing.
Lindsay has dedicated his life to researching the albatross and works with the Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association (SOSSA), collecting continuous data on the wandering albatross, and other species.
To undertake the research, SOSSA charters boats once a month, heading out to the continental shelf and beyond where these pelagic creatures can be found in greater numbers. With limited funding available for such trips, SOSSA has opened up the trips to volunteers and observers, creating a wonderful sightseeing experience for bird watchers, nature lovers and anyone wanting to have an action-packed day at sea. “We get people from all over the world planning their flights and holidays around our trips,” says Lindsay’s wife Janice who shares his passion. “There is so much to see out there.
“The ocean is such a vast place, we see dolphins, whales, sunfish, marlin, I never know what to expect.” Lindsay and Janice often finish each other’s sentences.
The trips run from Kiama once a month, although they would love to run them more often if they could. Basically there are around 12 to 14 spots available each trip, and if all the spots are booked, it pays for the charter and fuel. The aim is to break even. But the aim is also to get people to experience these “big ducks” as Lindsay likes to call them. To see them for themselves, up close and personal. “I don’t think anyone has ever left without saying ‘thank you, I had a fantastic time’. I am very proud of the area we live in and I want to share it with others, see the smiles on their faces, share the experience.”
People leave saying the trip was an experience of a lifetime, how it was life changing, something everyone should do, that they have to tell their friends. Think about it. Maybe it will change yours too.