July 11, 2004
Today marked my second day on the "small boat" rotation, and I was anxious to spend more time in close contact with whales. However, we spent much of the morning and afternoon "off effort" as we moored in Yakutat Harbor, allowing AR1 to refuel at a local marina. We spent our time bird watching, and studying charts of our tracklines. Dr. Barlow shared with us a map that pinpoints spots in the Gulf of Alaska where whaling ships made their captures. On this map is an area with a marked lack of captures, referred to as the Yakutat "Hole."
As we left Yakutat, this "Hole" proved true for us, as we did not see any humpbacks over a several mile range. As dusk approached, however, we did see multiple tall blows beyond the horizon. As we approached, we came upon a pod of 15 or more finbacks, Balaenoptera physalus. The small boat AR1 was deployed and for the next several hours, we worked up photo ID's and biopsies until darkness fell.
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