My Graves Disease had returned with a vengeance. I had no energy at all. Walking was difficult; stairs almost impossible. I had booked to fly to Sydney to do the February pelagic out of Kiama, supposedly my best chance of seeing a White-necked Petrel. I asked the doctor if it would be okay to go. He asked me how long I'd be away, and when I said 'one night' he agreed I could go.
The month out of Kiama (or previously Wollongong) with most sightings of White-necked Petrels is February. Of my twenty attempts, five previous attempts have been in February (2008, 2011, 2016, 2017 [cancelled] and 2018). I've also been told that April out of Port Stephens is good for White-necked Petrels. I have attempted to do this trip on four occasions (2012, 2013 [cancelled], 2014 [cancelled] and 2016).
|White-necked Petrel by Paul Wallbridge, a bird I've tried to see 20 times|
So, in February 2019, I flew to Sydney and managed very cleverly to get on the right train, then to change trains at Woolli Creek to Kiama. Well done, I thought. With difficulty, I walked to the motel. I stayed in my room until it was time to leave in the morning.
I had arranged to be picked up and driven to the jetty, so there was no walking on Saturday. My lift arrived, (thank you, Graham!) and, with great expectations, we drove to the wharf. A small crowd of people stood by the boat. Immediately we learnt that the trip had been cancelled. Weather was too bad. Seas were too rough.
Several Victorians who had made the trip as I had, just for the elusive White-necked Petrel, stood, trying to grasp the fact that their interstate journey had been in vain. After a little miserable discussion, we dispersed. I felt cheated.
Brook drove me to the airport and I arranged an early flight home, feeling the world was against me.
If I took a minute to stop feeling sorry for myself, I would thank Graham and Brook for their invaluable assistance. What would I do without the help of these wonderful friends? Alas, they cannot make the bird materialise.
Am I never going to see this bird?