June 29, 2004
This morning, I had my first official "watch," beginning at 0640, although the thick fog prevented any cetacean sightings in this location off of Swiftsure Bank. My watch began on the port side of the flying bridge, with forty minutes of observation from the "Big Eye" binoculars. I then rotated through the "recorder" station, using a waterproof laptop to record sighting information and weather conditions. My final rotation ended on the starboard Big Eye binoculars, without a single sighting this watch.
My afternoon watch was a bit more eventful. As we approached La Perouse Bank off Southern Vancouver Island, I sighted my first humpbacks, a cow-calf pair within close range of the ship. As evening approached, we came upon a fairly dense aggregation of humpbacks above La Perouse, with a dozen or more humpbacks feeding, waving their pectoral fins and breaching. As the observers began photography efforts from the McArthur II, the small boats AR-I and AR-2 were deployed to assist in photo ID and also attempt to obtain biopsy samples. All that training has been put to immediate use!
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