September 21, 2001

ORCAWALE 2001: Weekly Report for 9/13/01 to 9/19/01

Barbara Taylor

The last three days of leg 2 were fair and surprisingly uneventful. Numerous fin whales and one sperm whale proved too cagey to capture on film or in bottles. Oceanographers found plenty of whale food in their nets. The final day was a particularly strange stretch without a single marine mammal sighting in normally productive waters.

Difficulties obtaining fuel for the Jordan's picky diet resulted in a prolonged inport while fuel was trucked in from Oregon. Meanwhile heavy weather was the rule in the seas we were to have been traversing. Nevertheless, the small boat crew worked one day in quite good near shore conditions and got photos and biopsies from two humpback whales. We finally cast lines at 17:35 on a sunny afternoon September 19. The seas on the outside maintained great lumps from the heavy weather days we missed.

Trackline Avg

Date Time Lat Long Miles Beauf

091301 0722 N39:17.22 W129:40.54 65.9nmi 3.9
       1843 N38:56.84 W128:03.41

091401 0716 N38:55.83 W127:32.85 80.9nmi 4.6
       1920 N40:18.00 W127:03.50

091501 0719 N41:40.47 W126:37.93 88.1nmi 4.0
       1617 N40:16.34 W127:12.18

Code          Species                      Tot#

37          killer whale                      1
44         Dall's porpoise                   1
46         sperm whale                       1
74         fin whale                         8
78         unidentified small whale          1
79         unidentified large whale          4

                                     TOTAL 16

Biopsy (Juan Carlos Salinas and Erin LaBrecque)
Photo-ID (Todd Chander, Leigh Torres and Laura Morse)

Species                             #Biopsies(this week)                 Biopsy(cumulative total)                     #ID Photos(this week)                 Photo Cumulative Total

Physeter macrocephalus                  0                                               8                                                      0                                              15
Balaenoptera musculus                    0                                               1                                                      0                                                3
Balaenoptera physalus                     0                                               9                                                      0                                              13
Megaptera novaeangliae                  2                                              10                                                     2                                              11
Delphinus delphis                            0                                              14                                                      0                                                3
Lagenorhyncus obliquidens              0                                               7                                                      0                                                 0
Lissodelphis borealis                       0                                              14                                                     0                                                 0
Phocoenoides dalli                          1                                                3                                                      0                                                 0
Orcinus orca                                   2                                                2                                                      0                                               18
Eschrictius robustus                         0                                                2                                                      0                                                 5
        Total                                       3                                              69                                                      2                                               69

Oceanography (Candice Hall)

       Day            #CTDs   #XBTs   #Bongos       Notes

13 September        1           4              1
14 September        1           4              1
15 September        1           4              0 not near trackline for bongo

Seabirds (Michael Force and Cornelia Oedekoven)

A three day reporting period where we spent our time in the low productivity pelagic zone. The usual set of species dominate this area: Leach's Storm-Petrel, Red Phalarope, Long-tailed Jaeger, Black-footed Albatross, Sooty Shearwater and Arctic Tern. These birds occur in very low densities. However, on the 13th we encountered very high numbers of Leach's Storm-Petrels about 245 NM west of Point Arena, CA. In about 10NM of trackline we saw almost 1000 Leach's Storm-Petrels, mostly in flocks of up to 200 birds resting on the water. On most days this far from shore we see less than 50! The reasons for this high concentration are unknown but likely related to surface features invisible to us.

Acoustics (Shannon Rankin and Julie Oswald)

The week was nearly as quiet as it was short, with only two of the many sightings blessing us with vocals. The sperm whales of the 13th were detected acoustically only a few minutes before the observers sighted them, and we obtained great recordings of echolocation clicks from the killer whales on the 14th. What else do you say about 10 minutes of excitement in three long days? Our luck should be changing as we head south into common dolphin territory again...

Last modified: 12/24/2014