September 8, 2005
We started the day on 'recorder watch' due to high seas and fog. Fortunately, we never got the gale force winds that were forecasted, and by early afternoon the winds had died down. Soon we were back on effort and in hot pursuit of a blue whale! It was only fitting to see a blue whale on our last full day at sea since we had a blue whale sighting on the first day of our expedition back on August 21st.
I learned a great deal on this CSCAPE cruise, and I am extremely thankful to the ARMADA, NOAA, and CSCAPE project coordinators for providing me an opportunity to experience scientific research at sea. Not only did I benefit from this expedition, but the students I teach will benefit as well.
I will miss being aboard the David Starr Jordan. I will miss the scientists and the crew, and I will definitely miss the cetaceans. I look forward to reminders that will bring me back to the Pacific and life on the ship. When I see dolphins porpoising at the beach, I will be reminded of the hundreds of dolphins that rode the Jordan's bow, and I will remember climbing down into the bow chamber to see them play underwater. The next time I have a BBQ, I will remember the dinner we had on the aft deck when Mike and Lito cooked steaks, burgers, and chicken on the charcoal grill. Every time I see the night sky filled with stars, I will remember star gazing from the flying bridge in the middle of the night where we observed millions of stars, five different planets, shooting stars, and even satellites zipping across the sky. I will never forget the green flash. One night when the horizon was free of clouds, a green flash appeared as soon as the sun dipped below the horizon. And whenever I see a jellyfish in the water or on the beach, I will think about the millions of Velella we saw floating on the sea surface.
We have traveled over 1,300 nautical miles in all, and covered over 1,200 nm of trackline. Today's eight sightings brought us to 116 recorded sightings for this leg, totaling thousands of cetaceans. The total number of sightings for the CSCAPE project is now 1,195. The data collected from all eight legs of CSCAPE will be analyzed and published in a variety of scientific publications and in NOAA's stock assessment report publication of marine mammals within US waters. Chief Scientist Susan Chivers gave me a copy of this report, and it looks like it will be an excellent resource in the classroom. The report includes a great deal of information on stock definitions, geographic ranges, population sizes, human-caused mortalities, status of stocks, and more, in addition to graphs, maps, and charts.
I hope you have enjoyed my journal entries and cruising with me on NOAA's David Starr Jordan.