Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Flat Seas -- Many Beaked Whales

The sea was glassy calm for several hours this morning - perfect conditions for our visual team. The wind picked up a little bit throughout the day and shifted more to the south where the islands provide us less shelter, but it remained workable throughout the day. We again spotted quite a few fin whales and had the intermittent groups of dolphins, including some that were harassing a group of beaked whales we were following.

With the favorable weather, we found multiple beaked whales groups clustered in a relatively small area. One challenge was that this area was close to the edge of our allowed operational box, which limited our ability to follow several good candidate groups. Another was that many of the groups had small calves, preventing us from close approaches for tag attempts. Overall we had more than 10 different group sightings but are still searching for the right combination of conditions for tagging. Tomorrow looks to be workable but a little less calm than today.