Heading north in calm seas

On Thursday morning, February 16, the Delaware II

ship track on map

Delaware II location (red vessel icon) off the coast of Virginia at 4 am Thursday, Feb. 16, displayed on the vessel's navigational software. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

is off the coast of Virginia, working its way back north along an inshore track of stations, having completed the southernmost stations yesterday. The weather continues to be calm and mild, conditions we are very grateful for at this time of year!

We have seen a variety of fish larvae in these southern inshore samples. Spot, croaker, menhaden and gobies have been found in some of them. We also had a juvenile speckled lady crab in one of our recent bongo tows.

three fish

Croaker, spot and menhaden larvae (top to bottom) captured in one of the bongo nets from a southern inshore station off the coast of Virginia. (Photo by Harvey Walsh, NEFSC/NOAA)

juvenilegoby

Juvenile goby caught in one of the southern inshore plankton tows. (Photo by Harvey Walsh, NEFSC/NOAA)

The bird observers have recorded a great skua, some manx shearwaters, a few dovekies and razor-bills, northern gannets, common terns, northern fulmars and some Bonaparte gulls close to shore. For marine mammals they’ve observed some common dolphins and a fin whale near Oregon Inlet off of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

speckled crab

A juvenile speckled lady crab caught in the bongo net during an inshore southern plankton tow. (Photo by Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

Sunset at sea

Calm seas and a beautiful sunset on Wednesday, February 15, 2012. (Photo by Harvey Walsh, NEFSC/NOAA)

Our near-term forecast is looking good, but another gale is forecast for Sunday. With the excellent progress we’re making I’m hoping we’ll have finished all offshore stations missed during the last storm and and be heading north to complete the cruise with some Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl stations. In the meantime we’ll continue to enjoy our temperatures above freezing, calm seas and excellent sunsets!

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
DE 12-02 Winter Ecosystem Monitoring Survey

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