Pelagic Trips

The coastal waters of Massachusetts host an incredible variety of pelagic species. The BBC leads pelagic trips to find the rare and unusual species that visit these waters. In the winter there are alcids (Dovekie, Razorbill, both Murres, Guillemots). In the summer and fall there are chances for rarities such as Tropicbirds, Black-capped Petrels, and both species of Skua. Massachusetts is arguably the best place in North America to see the rare White-faced Storm-petrel.

Our August 2024 pelagic trips are now open for registration!
The Brookline Bird Club will host two overnight pelagic trips in August 2024 from Hyannis MA to the Hydrographer Canyon area (August 24-25th and August 26-27th). We expect to reach warm Gulf Stream-influenced waters far offshore to see shearwaters, storm-petrels, jaegers and more! Possible targets include White-faced Storm-petrels, Band-rump Storm-petrel, and Audubon’s Shearwater. Trips will leave at 6am from Hyannis on the first day, returning at 5pm on the second day. A fabulous chance to spend some time at sea looking for seabirds.

Limit per trip: 50 participants. Cost: BBC Members: $340.00 non-members: $380.00.

Register for the August 24-25th trip here and August 26-27th trip here (we maintain a waitlist if interest exceeds capacity), plus read on for more boat and trip information.

Our boat from Hyannis, the Helen H, is a very comfortable, fast, 100-foot fishing boat with a knowledgeable and enthusiastic captain and crew. We’ve been going out on this boat for the last 20 years, and have seen some amazing things out on the open ocean. There are 34 bunks aboard for overnight trips in a shared bunk space. There is a full galley with excellent food at reasonable prices. Parking is free.

  • The Helen H, a 100 foot aluminum deep sea fishing boat powered by a fast 2700 Horsepower engine, is a deep sea fishing boat Coast Guard approved. The hull and cabin have 34 bunks and the cabin has several fixed tables and benches, while the deck and sides have many long benches. Between the bow, deck and sides, there are many places to view sea life. There will be 3-4 trip leaders who will help with identifying the birds from the wheel house and by circulating among all participants on deck and bow.

  • Overnight trips aboard the Helen H will go out approximately 100 miles from shore to the Continental Shelf near Hydrographer, Atlantis or Veatch’s Canyons (depending on where we think the birds might be, based on fishing reports, sea surface temperature maps, or any other intel we can gather). We’ve had great luck finding birds at the continental shelf edge between Hydrographer and Oceanographer Canyons.

  • Every trip is different and an amazing chance to see some great birds and other sea creatures. Summer trips target the charismatic White-faced Storm-petrel, as well as warm water species such as Band-rumped Storm-petrels, Audubon’s Shearwater, Tropicbirds, Black-capped Petrel at the continental shelf edge. Over the productive Nantucket Shoals we typically see flocks of shearwaters attended by jaegers and the occasional skua. Rarities seen on the trips include Barolo Shearwater and Bermuda Petrel.

  • The show of other sea creatures is also spectacular. we regularly see whales, dolphins, turtles, and more.

  • Each time the BBC gives all crew a small amount as a tip, so, while not expected, you may give any crew member who has given you special service an additional tip.

  • We look forward to sharing this trip with you. Before the trip starts if you have questions, please send an e-mail to the BBC Pelagic group, and either Naeem Yusuff or Bobbie Hodson will respond to your questions.

  • There is a $20 non-refundable cancellation fee to cover the costs of the credit card transactions. If you cancel your registration one month before the trip, we can issue a refund minus the fee. Cancellations less than one month before the trip may not be refunded, unless there is someone on the waiting list who can take your place. The Brookline Bird Club runs these pelagic trips at cost.

  • Pelagic trips aboard the Helen H leave port at 6:00 AM. The small parking lot at 137 Pleasant Street is open at 5:00 AM, and, due to the number of cars it’s always helpful if you can carpool. Please check in with the leaders upon arrival. Boarding starts at 5:30 AM and you will be boarding in the order of your registration for the trip.

  • Due to weather conditions, the captain of the Helen H sometimes cancels the trip if the sea conditions are too rough. We will keep you informed as soon as we know about the status of the trip. The captain will typically make a decision about weather once the marine forecast becomes available – Tuesday/Wednesday before the trip, but it can be cancelled even later than that. We realize that people travel from all over the country for these trips, but the ocean conditions do not always cooperate.

  • Generally, the first 34 participants will have access to padded bunks, most of which are located in the hull of the ship. Bring a sleeping bag and pad, and be prepared for barebones accommodation for a night at sea. There is space to spread out sleeping bags on the deck and on benches.

  • According to your registration number and your preferences, bring your sleeping gear. Since the weather varies greatly from trip to trip, it is wise to bring an assortment of rain and cold/warm clothes; sun glasses, sunscreen, and sun hat; anti-nausea pills; and cameras and binoculars.

  • We have the option to sign up for food at the galley for the entire trip (two breakfast, two lunches, one dinner). We will be coordinating this for the trip participants closer to the trip.