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Journals 2004/2005

Linda Hoffman
Palms Middle School, West Los Angeles, California

"Structure of Populations, Levels of Abundance,
and Status of Humpback whales (SPLASH)"

NOAA Ship McArthur
July 28 - August 28, 2004
Journal Index:
July 28 - 29 - 30 - 31
August 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11

          12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19

          21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28

August 19, 2004

6am. Breakfast, then email.

10am. I will stay on the sky bridge till lunchtime. We spotted lots of dalls porpoises and watched as one rode the bow of the ship. It turned out this particular porpoise called a red-eye dall is very rare. Mike then spotted a fin whale, which at first he thought was a Sei whale. We were able to get very close and Barbara had me look at it through the big eyes. Wow, what a beautiful whale. The small boat was launched to get a biopsy. Then they would know for sure if it were a Sei or Fin whale.

15:29. Need to rest as I was on the fly bridge too long. It's hard to believe but there is only ten days to go before making landfall one last time and then flying home. I am still hoping I will see a blue whale before this trip is over. I go back downstairs for a nap.

2:10pm. Dr. Barlow comes running into my room looking for Kate. There is a blue whale out there. I grabbed my video camera and ran up to the top deck. The small boat was already out on the ocean chasing the blue whale. Everyone was so excited. No one expected to see any blue whales this far from shore and in the Bering Sea. It was not just any blue whale; this was believed to be a Western Blue Whale. Very rare indeed. The boat crew got a picture and a biopsy. It took them two hours to finally get them. Everyone cheered. What a day this has been on exceptionally calm seas and sunny skies. I got some great Video for Dr. Barlow of the blue whale. The blue whale is the largest mammal on Earth. It is bigger than the dinosaurs that once roamed the Earth. Their blows can be seen miles away on a clear day, as they are so huge. I wish I were on the small boat. What a thrill that must be, to be so close to a blue whale.

18:33. Two hours and they're still out there with the blue whale. Dr. Barlow was so happy he brought up lollipops for everyone.

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