NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard NOAA Ship McArthur II
July 2 – 24, 2005
Mission: Ecosystem Wildlife Survey
Geographical Area: Pacific Northwest
Date: July 18, 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
Our days have been mostly foggy with the sun peaking through rarely. After not seeing the sun for days, we were all delighted when the bridge announced that there was sun and many of us ran outside right away! Right now we’re outside of Pt. Reyes, continuing on transect lines. The animals we’ve observed lately are: a pod of Killer Whales feeding, several Humpback Whales, schools of Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Northern Right Whale dolphins.
The Zodiac was launched and tissue samples and photo ID was taken of the Killer Whales. (photos attached) This evening two Humpbacks gave us quite a show. They rolled next to the ship, breached, and slapped their flippers. Many times we could see their bellies as they lazily made their way by the ship rolling and diving, quite peacefully. Video and photo was taken of these amazing animals.
The bird observers have been especially busy. In the past few days they’ve identified Black-footed Albatross, Common Murre, lots of Sooty Shearwaters, Pink footed Shearwaters, Ashy Storm Petrels that breed on the Farallons, and Cassini’s Auklets. Also seen are South Polar Skua’s, and Red Neck Phalaropes who are Artic breeders. We’ve also seen Mola Mola fish, and a Mako shark with a pointy snout. We’re continuing Bongo Net Tows and continue to collect plankton, larvae and small jellyfish.
Thanks to Rich Pagen being back on board, I am now focusing more on taking video, completing interviews, doing logs and e-mail correspondence. My interviews have gone well; the crew has been responsive and also forgiving when I’ve made mistakes. For the remainder of the trip, I’ll be focusing on interviewing more of the scientists, developing curriculum and completing logs. It’s been great meeting all the crew and finding out more about them. With less than a week to go, I’m treasuring every moment. This has been a great trip!
Thanks to Cornelia Oedekoven for the Orca photos.