Tagging Whales in the Antarctic Seas

Andvord Bay (Fri., 5/15/09) – The emotional rollercoaster
by -- May 18th, 2009

Yay! There’s a whale just sitting at the surface, let’s tag that one! … Boo, that guy was a bit difficult to track.

  1. Yay!  The port call is over and we get to head back out and do some research!
  2. Uh-oh…  There are 40-60 knot winds and the boat is rocking like a Van Halen concert…
  3. Yay!  We get to play rock band again and see all our friends on the ship’s crew!
  4. Oooohhhh… I don’t feel much like playing rock band… or eating… … or standing upright…
  5. Yay!  I just woke up and the ship’s not rocking anymore! (69) Fluke Up
    fluke up

     

  6. Booo… the winds are still pretty high.  But maybe I’ll get the tags ready to go anyway just in case.
  7. Alriiiiggght, the winds are dropping out, I’ll go get ready to do some research.  Yay!
  8. Stand down, winds are back up!  Boo!
  9. That’s ok, I’ll get some data analysis work done, yay!
  10. Booo!  Data analysis.
  11. Yay!  We’ve traveled out of the channel a bit and winds are down, let’s launch the boats!
  12. Boo, there aren’t many whales around.
  13. Yay!  There’s a whale just sitting at the surface, let’s tag that one!
  14. Boo, that guy was a bit difficult to track.
  15. Yay!  There’s a pair of whales just sitting at the surface!
  16. Boo, they were joined by another whale and started travelling, and the water’s getting too rough anyway, we have to head in. (68) Visual Survey Team
    Visual Survey Team

     

  17. Yay!  The visual survey team can do a nice survey of Andvord Bay!
  18.  Boo, there were hardly any sightings throughout the whole survey.
  19. But yay!  The towfish is riding well in the water and we’re getting prey data from the big ship without any interference!  This will help us get better data on krill swarms in the area and maybe even get prey data during nighttime tracks of whales.
  20. It’s nearly dark, I guess I’ll go change out of my warm “outside” clothes and call this one a day.  Oh well.
  21. [5 minutes later]  Wait!!  We’ve only got a bit of daylight, but we’ve got some logging whales, let’s go give it a shot!  Go go go!!
  22. [10 minutes later]  Smack!  We’ve got a tag on!
  23.  [5 minutes later] beep beep beep beep beep beep… the tag fell off.  … because the whale was covered in ice.  Seriously.  (66) Snow on a humpback
    Snow on a humpback
  24. Yay!  We are hard core!  We will keep trying!
  25. We kept trying until dark with no success.  Boo.
  26. Yay!  We’ll all get a good night’s sleep in preparation for tomorrow’s certain overnight track.

So no tag on for today, but we did make some progress and collect some good data.  The uncertainty of the weather makes things challenging, but we roll with it  there’s a certain freedom to being ready to change the plan at any moment.  We’re happy to be back at it!

2 Comments

  1. Jackie
    May 19, 2009

    Humpbacks

    Snow and ice on the humpbacks!!!!! That is incredible, although I don’t know why I’m surprised, really. If they’re all just lying on top of the water sleeping, of course they’d get covered by the elements. You guys are tough!

  2. Courtney
    May 19, 2009

    Magnum vs. Matterhorn

    At least your emotional rollercoaster is up and down instead of spinning, because at least this way you don’t lose your lunch! 🙂

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