Despite Imperfect Weather, Sightings Continue

June 18, 2011

On Thursday the 16th we worked our last three transects (19, 20, and 21) along the western end (southeast of Delaware Bay) of the shelf-break. Sighting conditions were good to fair, and it was one of our better sighting days.  Cetaceans sighted included: sperm whales, Cuvier’s and Sowerby’s beaked whales, striped and offshore bottlenose dolphins, and pilot whales.  We stopped the sighting effort at 1600 hours due to rough seas, but the passive acoustics team kept up their work until 1800 hrs.  The usual bongo and CTD tows were conducted at 1800 hrs.

Scientists and crew gathered on the flying bridge of the Bigelow.

The weather on Friday the 17th prohibited visual sighting, therefore we remained in the area.

On Saturday, the 18th, we completed the remaining section of line 21, and began transiting to our furthest southwestern waypoint (36.59N, 72.04W).

Joy enjoys a break on the flying bridge.

Sunday was crazy day.  The day stated with a severe squall line, followed by southern winds around 20 kt. The visual team was on and off effort the entire day dodging rain squalls, shifting and increasing winds, and thick haze.  The seabird observers had their most exciting day of the survey.  We passed a large flock of seabirds feeding above a school of yellowfin tuna. The flock contained new species sightings for both bird biologists and marine mammal observers with an interest in seabirds.  This event will be summarized in my next report. Stay tuned . . .

Gordon Waring, chief scientist

Birders on watch aboard the Bigelow.

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