August 1, 2006
Lat: 26° 6.8' N
No sightings today. Spent a good part of the day studying the species of dolphins we are most likely to see: spotted dolphins or spotters (Stenella attenuate), eastern and whitebelly spinner dolphins or spinners (Stenella longirostris), and striped dolphins or streakers (Stenella coeruleoalba). I hope to be able to identify some of them when sighted, but I admire the skill and fortitude of these mammal observers as they stare out into the vastness of blue for hours each day. Their ability to spot, identify, and quantify any type of cetacean (whales and dolphins), is truly remarkable!
Jigging for squid for an hour after sunset. Caught 4 or 5 Docidicus, about 12 to 18" long, weighing up to about 2 lbs maybe? Nothing like the humboldt squid they've been catching on the Jordan: 40 pounders!? (Turns out that may be a record.) They're also catching and tagging sea turtles off the Baja peninsula. The Jordan is another NOAA boat, smaller than the MAC, conducting similar studies along a more coastal route in the ETP.
Other species caught in the dipnets were myctophids (lantern fish), Exocetus spp. (flying fish), and Halobates spp. (marine insects related to water striders).
Weather has been beautiful as we steam on to the tropics.