Day 5 – July 1: You just can’t ask for better sighting conditions than these! Awoke to glass-calm seas which pretty much stayed with us throughout the day, never getting higher than a sea state 2. We almost completed the rest of trackline 25, staying on effort an extra hour and leaving only 4 nm left to cover. Taking advantage of the weather, we spent about 2 hours after lunch doing visual distance training. The ship deployed their rescue boat and sent it to various determined distances so that all the visual observers could calibrate their eyes and big-eye binoculars to known distances. It’s always startling to see how close 100 m really is to the ship!
Sightings were prolific and largely of striped and Atlantic spotted dolphins. We even encountered a mixed pod with roughly 60% striped and 40% spotted dolphins. Peter Duley successfully collected a biopsy sample of one of the spotted dolphins while it was bow riding. Other sighting highlights include: dwarf and pygmy sperm whales, rough-toothed dolphins, and a Cuvier’s beaked whale. The birders have mostly been seeing a variety of shearwaters and petrels, with highlights of Royal terns, long-tailed jaegers, white-faced storm petrels, and a white-tailed tropic bird.
All in all, we’ve certainly got nothing to complain about out here!
Allison Henry, chief scientist