Monday, September 27, 2010

Where are the whales!?

Well, we know that we've got krill on Georges Bank, and that's been keeping the 'zooplankton' team busy. The large marine predator observing team members, including bird researcher Tim White (CUNY) and marine mammologists Reny Tyson (Duke) and myself Julie van der Hoop (WHOI), were fairly excited on the first days of surveying. We had some great sightings of humpback whales, pilot whales, common dolphins, and even some leatherback turtles. Then, things took a turn.
Reny Tyson of Duke Marine Lab sets up the marine mammal observing system, with curious onlookers.
High seas kept us off the observing bridge, as every wave looks like a whale and any whale looks like a wave. We had a beautiful sunrise the next day, but after 45 minutes of surveying, the fog socked in. And today? 5 hours of effort... and only one tuna sighting. Our most common sighting this trip? Marine debris, mostly in the form of balloons.
So, let's pray for calm seas, sunshine, and the return of large marine predators. At least we've got a good sound system, and some good company up on the bridge.

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