#7: The Joy of Listening

Our Tuesday survey turned out to be quite special. The light winds promised by our weather forecast actually delivered this time- our sea state ranged from 0-2 for the entire day! Get a load of this:

Kelsey and Bill on watch. Photo: Marianna Hagbloom

As we traveled to the east, an odd looking whale was sighted on the horizon. Was that one whale, or two? Did that blow look different? Amy was able to identify the species from a distance: sperm whale!

Our 2014 sperm whale. Photo: Marianna Hagbloom

We've had a few sperm whale sightings every year since 2010. The hydrophone was lowered over the side of the Nereid, and we took a few minutes to enjoy listening to it click click clicking. Take a listen for yourself!

Back in the office that night, Monica would identify our sperm whale as a whale that we have photographed in the Bay of Fundy before! We bet the researchers we've been sending these sightings to will be pleased to have another data point and evidence of residency.

Each sperm whale has a unique trailing edge. Photo: Amy Knowlton

We continued on our tracklines, heading further east than we've been so far this year. Although we had an idea of where most of the right whales would be, we avoided that area on purpose because we wanted to survey the shipping lanes. If there were right whales there, we could immediately alert the shipping traffic to their presence. Fortunately, we didn't observe any whales in the shipping lanes- let's hope that our slow moving friends continue to reside elsewhere!

Once we completed our eastern survey, we moved west and eventually came across the right whales we were expecting to find. They were very scattered but would log at the surface for a few minutes before diving, so we were able to photograph many of them. In all, we documented 24 individuals!

Catalog #1611, "Clover" - a female born in 1986. Photo: Bill McWeeny

After working all day, Amy suggested that we take a moment to enjoy the scene around us- surrounded by right whales in a sea state 0. It was so nice to take a step back and just listen to these whales breathing....

- Marianna

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