Science at sea

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Special report from the R/V Pacific Storm, September 7, 2021:

Early this morning, we encountered transmission troubles. We were able to get the transmission into manual override forward. All are safe on board — but because we are so far from land, we have made the decision to go back to Newport rather than further diagnose the transmission problem out at sea.

This is the nature of ships and science at sea. Meanwhile, the weather is spectacular and the forecast is good. We intend to carry on with our science, as best we can, on the way in. We are in full acoustic and visual survey mode and are recording marine mammal detections (visually and acoustically) — including two beaked whale sightings!

Bob Pitman and Lisa Ballance look through the “big eye” binoculars, while on visual observation duty. Photo by Craig Hayslip.

Earlier today, we plucked a large, dead squid from the water, which a Black-footed Albatross was feeding on, and obtained a sample. (Squids are the food of choice for beaked whales.) Meanwhile, we have great meals ourselves, hot showers, and are enjoying the natural world surrounding us. It is times like these that bring the character of your shipmates to the surface. I am surrounded by the best of the best out here.

~Lisa Ballance

Craig Hayslip holds up the remains of a squid. No one said science was glamorous. Photo by Daniel Gillies.

4 comments

  1. I’m eager to hear if repairs succeed and you are off again. Wondering about the beaked whale sightings so far (and actually, all cetacean sightings so far). This project is exciting for those of us who are arm-chair Mesoplodon geeks many years past their research cruise adventures (sigh).

  2. Sorry to hear about the transmission problem. Will the project have to be postponed for a later date due to the extra travel time, and the added time to repair the Storm?

    I take it the two beaked whales were spotted visually? I was wondering if previous research included the deep diving whales announcing their intention to surface, similar to sperm whales clicking?

    Even though there were just a couple of trip entries with photos, I appreciated being able to read info about the project. Hopefully this can be done in the future. Thanks…

    Craig was never one to worry about getting his hands dirty.

    1. Hi Michael! An update will be coming out tomorrow. Thanks also for your questions about how the beaked whales were spotted. We will address that in future posts.

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