NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship McArthur II
July 2 – 24, 2005
Mission: Ecosystem Wildlife Survey
Geographical Area: Pacific Northwest
Date: July 12, 2005
Weather Data from Bridge
Visibility: <1 mile
Wind Direction: 340 Wind Speed: 22 knots
Sea Wave Height: 5-6 feet
Sea Level Pressure: 1014.6
Cloud Cover: Foggy, Drizzle
For the past few days, it’s been either foggy or too windy to do observations. The last big sighting was on July 10th where we spotted about 30 Sperm Whales. It was easy to identify the Sperm Whales as their blow is at a 45 degree angle. Also Sperm Whales like to float at the top of the water so tracking and finding them is relatively easy. Juan Carlos Salinas and Tim O’Toole, was able to obtain 10 different biopsy samples and Holly Fearnbach and Cornelia Oedekoven obtained photo id. Sperm whales are identified by their flukes, noting scratches, tears or missing pieces. The scientists will try to identify specific whales. In the attached pictures, you will see heads of Sperm Whales, note the blow hole on the side of one, also try and look for scratches or cuts on the flukes.
Because of the weather, observations have been slow. Yesterday, I did observe a Humpback Whale breaching in the distance. Today I’ve been doing interviews, reading and doing e-mail correspondence. Hopefully the weather will clear and we can go back to regular observations to see more wildlife. Right now we’re off of Pt. Sir, near Big Sur and will continue to track right outside our own coastline. Hope all is well.