July 11, 2005
It would be a busy day, up at 4:30 and to the boat by 5:30. I met part of the crew and helped carry food and drinks onto the boat.
Scott Klaus, a head researcher from New England Aquarium, gave me a tour of the boat and safety talk. My job today would be identifying and logging marine mammals and birds on a computer program called Logger. I would be helping Kerry (another researcher and Scott. We would be doing 10 minutes of 360° observations around the boat. Our observations were at many pre-designated stations already set up on transects along Platts Bank. There would also be aerial observations done along these same transects and information about large mammal activity would be reported to our boat.
We left port at 6:40 because it took 2 1/2 hours to get to our first station on Platts Bank. While we were on observations, the other researchers were busy using a CTD equipped with a flurometer and a towed hydroacoustic system for fish. They were also using a 1-m vertical ring net equipped with 333um mesh nets and a flowmeter to collect plankton samples to compare with the acoustic profiles. We hit seven stations in two separate transects.
During the morning, many birds, a basking shark, and a humpback whale were sited. After, completing our seven stations we headed to the "hot spot" that the observation plane had seen earlier in the day, containing several whales. To our surprise, we saw a pod of about 75 Atlantic white-sided dolphins. It was spectacular as there were dolphins of every size and they came close to check us out. At this spot we also saw several Humpback whales and one Fin whale. What magnificent creatures! For about 30 minutes we all watched in awe. Nick also took another plankton sample to see if there was a difference in the abundance of plankton there. As it began to get dark, we headed the boat toward home.
Scott was discussing having an overnighter for Tuesday. We got back to the dock around 7p.m. I thought it was time to get some sleep so I would be ready to do it all again tomorrow.