We crossed the Great South Channel and started working on Georges Bank on Wednesday afternoon (August 15). We are being blessed with excellent weather for working in this region, notorious for its rough seas, shoal areas and lack of any shelter from approaching storms. Even in calm seas there is drama below the surface when working the shoal areas. Last night we encountered an area of tremendous sand waves at station 30-7 which is located squarely in the shoal area of Georges Bank. We were very lucky and missed having our bongo nets hit a 20-meter-high sand wave (about 65 feet high, and one of several) by just a few minutes! Instead we not only missed the sand, but were able to catch a tiny juvenile lobster about 15 mm long. The station before that one, also on the shoals, had juvenile windowpane flounder and silver hake. The flounder juveniles were up to 40 mm and the silver hake up to 50 mm in length. All of these animals were caught using only our 61 cm diameter bongo nets, since we finished our Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawls yesterday.
As I am writing this on Friday afternoon (August 17) we are in Canadian waters, on the northeast peak of Georges Bank, heading for a station in the Northeast Channel. We’ll be working our way back west across the northern flank of Georges for the remainder of today and part of tomorrow, then proceed on into the Gulf of Maine, where we have until Thursday afternoon to finish sampling before returning home.
Time will be tight, but with our continuing good weather, and everything (and everyone!) working at full capacity, we have a good chance, I believe, to cover most of the Gulf of Maine area.
HB 12-05 EcomMn/CliVEC cruise