(This post was originally published September 4, 2021. Posts have been manually reordered for more logical storytelling. To go to the next post in the sequence, click “Previous Post” at bottom.)
After a Herculean effort from science, ship, and shoreside teams, we leave Port Dock 3 just after 10 am and sail under the iconic Yaquina Bay Bridge under blue skies and complete calm. A bustle of recreational boats heading out for a Saturday on the water is joined by Common Murre chicks calling for their fathers, Pelagic Cormorants commuting back from the sea with fish for their families, and gulls tagging along with whatever looks interesting.
We pass over Newport’s famed “bar” without a notice and move into the big Pacific Ocean, channel markers festooned with California Sea Lions. The great Oregon coastline, thick with green, slowly recedes into the distance and turns blue, as the sea becomes our new world.
At 2 pm, we cross the 200-meter isobath that marks the boundary of Oregon’s continental shelf, deploy our hydrophone to listen underwater, and begin visual survey with our 25-power binoculars (the “big eyes”) to watch the surface for any animal activity. The sea remains flat calm.
All systems go!