King of the Blue Ocean

On the morning of July 8 we began surveying the remaining half of shelf-edge line 18, starting at 39.00N 72.45W, and completing 70% of line 16, steaming in a northeast direction along the eastern edge of Hudson Canyon. The day was very productive in regards to marine mammal sightings. Early morning sightings were dominated by large whales – sperm, humpback, fin, and a BLUE whale (similar to “KOBO” the“King of the Blue Ocean” in the New Bedford Whaling Museum). Other exciting sightings during the day were Blainville’s and Cuvier’s beaked whales. Of course, we also had schools of our common delphinid species: pilot whales, common, bottlenose, and striped dolphins.

Pod of spotted dolphins. (Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC  Kelly Slivka)

Pod of striped dolphins. (Photo credit: NOAA/NEFSC Kelly Slivka)

Following “the rule at sea” we broke effort on two occasions to investigate floating objects that were spotted by the big-eye observers-(1) an overturned yellow kayak and (2) a large elongated orange object that looked like part of a pontoon. Thankfully distress described neither of these occasions.

Closer shot of the spotted dolphins. (Photo credit:   Kelly Slivka NOAA/NEFSC)

Closer shot of the striped dolphins. (Photo credit: Kelly Slivka NOAA/NEFSC)

On July 9 we completed line 16 and 15, and we are currently on track line 14 at 1730 (39.50N 71.21W) running in a southeast direction out to the 2,000 F bathymetry line. This morning’s sightings began with dolphins (common and Risso’s), but we also encountered a line of baleen whales (fin, humpback, minke, and blue. Having consecutive blue whale sighting days is rare on the offshore summer surveys, and so we are all looking forward to what the oceanography and zooplankton data will tell us.

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