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Journals 2006/2007

Cyndy Martin
Portland High School, Portland, Maine

"STAR Project
NOAA R/V McArthur II
July 28 - August 26, 2006
Journal Index:
September 28 - 29 - 30 - 31
August 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9
           10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16
           17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23
           24 - 25 - 26

July 30, 2006
A mill pond

Lat: 30° 14.2' N
Long: 119° 19.6' W
Skies: Partly Cloudy (PC)
Wind: 2 kts, 55 deg T
Seas: waves = < 1', swells = 2-4'
Course: 225 deg T
Speed: 10 kts
Distance in 24 hrs: 204 nm
Sea temp: 22.2 deg C
Distance from land: 57 nm NW of So. Coronado Island

Beaufort 0 made for spectacular dead calm seas, a virtual mirror. Early in the a.m. we had a sighting of Kogia breviceps (pygmy sperm whales) - 2 singles and a cow/calf pair. Although not rare judging from the number of beach strandings, pygmy sperm whales are rarely seen at sea. Unfortunately I missed the Kogia, however. As a result of being up until 0130 with the net tow gremlins (we had some "bugs" to work out), I was still resting peacefully. They were also seeing fur seals, an elephant seal (which would be a new one for me) and several Loggerhead turtles, mostly juveniles, the smallest no larger than a softball. I was sad to have missed all those critters! The solution: a radio in our room so that we can know what's happening on the flying bridge at any and all times.

We also had many common dolphins throughout the day, as well as some striped dolphins (stripers), and a variety of birds, including hundreds of Leach's storm petrel (which for me was like seeing an old friend far from home), and a couple brown boobies. Dolphins are generally traveling in schools of 25 to 50, bow riding, leaping and splashing. They're so fun to watch: incredibly agile and acrobatic; makes you just want to dive right in and play. I wonder how they would react to that. (Swimming is prohibited after a woman was attacked by a shark 10 yrs ago while swimming from a NOAA boat).

I've never been seasick, but I have been feeling some general malaise the last 2 days. Though the seas have been calm, there are long rolling swells that we're taking on the beam. The motion is very different from what I am used to on a sailing vessel. I'm trying not to take anything, figuring I should be over this soon.

Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis)