The Mission: To monitor the Gulf of California harbor porpoise (the vaquita) by recording their vocalizations using a series of hydrophones towed behind a moving boat.
The Problems: Vaquita are difficult to monitor visually because of their small size, low profile on the water, and because they are known to react to ships at a distance of 900 meters. In addition, vaquita may inhabit waters too shallow for large survey vessels. Acoustic methods have been identified as the best monitoring strategy. However, vaquita vocalizations are relatively quiet, and we can only detect their vocalizations to a distance of 300 meters. Also, the acoustic monitoring vessel must be able to travel in relatively shallow waters and be quiet enough not to be detected by the animals.
The Solution: The Corsair 24 benefits from being a wind-powered vessel that can maintain a reasonable speed for towing hydrophones in light winds. Since vaquita are known to avoid motorized vessels beyond the 300 meter distance necessary to detect their vocalizations, this ability to sail in low winds is critical. Also, the Corsair is a trimaran and is more stable than monohull sailboats. Thus, it can be used for a survey in shallow water habitats of the northern Gulf of California where other vessels are not suitable. In its role in the Vaquita Expedition, the Corsair Project will test the use of towed hydrophones in the detection of vaquita.
Please read the latest reports from the field.
Corsair Field Report - 25 September 2008 (español)
Corsair Field Report - 27 September 2008 (español)
Corsair Field Report - 03 October 2008 (español)
Corsair Field Report - 15 October 2008 (español)
Corsair Field Report - 25 November 2008 (español)