Pelagics into the Humboldt Current
Murphy said “I now belong to the higher cult of mortals for I have seen the albatross!”
If you want to belong to this cult, and enjoy one of the best pelagic experiences in the world, then you have to go on a pelagic trip on the Humboldt Current!
Seabirds such as albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters are species with a unique biology. In their wandering through the seas of the world they only touch firm ground for breeding. Thus, to see them up close it is necessary to embark on offshore pelagic trips to reach their feeding areas.
Chile has more than 4,000 kilometers of coastline and is considered as one of the best places in the world to do pelagic trips. The Humboldt Current was named after its ‘discoverer’, the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt; a cold and low-salinity ocean current emerging from the seabed off the coast of southern Chile and moving northward dragging nutrients even as far up as Ecuador, creating one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems.
This huge rise of nutrients notably favors the observation of marine fauna. Exceptional trips have produced roughly 60(!) species of seabirds. With over half a dozen species of albatrosses, and multiple species of petrels, shearwaters, terns, diving-petrels, cormorants, gulls and terns.
The abundance of different species vary throughout the year, depending on each species’ reproductive strategy. Among the most commonly seen species off the coast of Valparaiso are: Black-browed, Salvin’s and Royal (Northern and Southern) Albatrosses, Northern Giant-Petrel, Cape, Juan Fernandez, White-Chinned and Westland Petrels, Sooty and Pink-Footed Shearwaters, Peruvian Diving Petrel, Inca Tern, Wilson’s (Fuegian) Storm-Petrel, Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins, Peruvian Booby, Guanay Cormorant and Peruvian Pelican. Among the more uncommon species we may see, are Masatierra Petrel, Chatham and Buller’s Albatross, and Southern Fulmar.
Our pelagics into the Humboldt Current last roughly 6 hours and a shared boat is scheduled for the second Saturday of every month.
Visit this link to see what time of year different species are seen.
PRICE PER PERSON: US$150
This tour can also be booked as a private trip. Please contact our office staff to enquire about pricing.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Birding
If weather conditions are unfavorable (rain, too much fog, high waves or strong winds) the captain of the boat may decide it is unsafe to sail and the trip can be postponed to the next day (Sunday) if the forecast shows that the conditions are likely to improve.
If the forecast shows that the conditions will not improve, the trip will be held the following weekend.
Notwithstanding, this the participants have the option to request a full refund of their money up to two days before the revised date set for departure.
If we are aware in advance of weather problems participants will be notified the day before departure by e-mail before 18:00 hrs.
Cancellations due to lack of participants
Departures can be canceled due to lack of participants up to three days before the date. This will be informed by e-mail.
Weather conditions can change quickly at sea. If the day is clear, radiation is quite strong so the use of wide-brimmed hats and sunscream are recommended. If there is wind before the sun comes up, it may be cold, and a second warm layer is always recommended. Waterproof or water-resistant jacket and pants are ideal to have with you as they keep out the wind and keep you dry if some water splashes onto the boat in the case of windier conditions.
What to bring
Do not forget to bring your binoculars. Using them may be tricky in an environment that is constantly moving but you will find them invaluable in enjoying close views of Albatrosses.
If you are a photographer, this trip is a great opportunity to take amazing pictures of seabirds.
The lens should not exceed 400 mm, because stability on the boat is not always easy and birds usually are close enough to the boat for a below < 400mm lens to work well.
It is recommended to shoot at speeds higher than 1/1000 to get shots that are as sharp as possible.
Remember that we are in offshore conditions and sometimes some water can splash back into the boat, so you should be careful with your optical equipment.
On the boat
The boat is open, with seating for everyone, a cabin where you can leave backpacks and luggage and a small bathroom (basic).
It has life jackets for every participant and it is MANDATORY TO USE THEM for your own personal safety. The boat also has an additional lifeboat.
We will have multiple buckets with bait (chum) and fish oil to attract birds near the boat and facilitate better observations.
There is always the possibility of getting dizzy even if you are an experienced seaman.
Many people are susceptible to motion sickness and here are some simple tips you can use to reduce or prevent motion sickness:
- Arrive well-rested.
- We recommend not drinking alcohol the night before departure
- Try to eat light meals the night before and only have a light breakfast on the day of the trip
- There are different medications on the market such as Dramamine and Mareamin that can help prevent motion sickness. If you plan to use these, it is recommended to consult a doctor for dosages and possible side effects (drowsiness, etc.)
- If you do suffer from dizziness/sea sickness on the boat, it normally helps in relieving this if you simply lie down for a while or attempt a short nap
Following these guidelines we are sure you’ll enjoy the best possible pelagic. Enjoy the trip!
MEETING PLACE IN VALPARAÍSO
We will meet at the Muelle Prat docks, near Plaza Sotomayor (see map), Valparaíso. The departure schedule is set for 6:30 am (note this may vary depending on time of sunrise) and returning to port at roughly 12:30 pm, depending on weather conditions. We ask everyone to be punctual in order to avoid delaying the departure and out of respect for the other participants (We cannot wait for latecomers).
MEETING PLACE IN ARICA
We will meet at the Muelle Arica docks (see map). The departure is scheduled for 7:30 am (note this may vary depending on time of sunrise) and returning to port around 13:00 pm, depending on weather conditions. We ask everyone to be punctual in order to avoid delaying the departure and out of respect for the other participants (We cannot wait for latecomers).