#14: Roseway Basin - Part Deux

After receiving two pop-up acoustic buoys from JASCO Applied Sciences and a much needed respite on Cape Sable Island from rough seas, we set out at a reasonable time on the 19th to begin our second leg of surveying Roseway Basin. A few hours into our transit to our northern track line, our eagle-eyed team on watch spotted a distant blow and flukes. It took a few more surfacings, but then our first Roseway right whale of the season popped up right off our port side! The whale was quickly identified as Eros (Catalog #3701), whose mom Aphrodite (#1701) had been seen the previous week in the Bay of Fundy.

Eros (Catalog#3701) became our first official Roseway right whale of the season!  Photo by Kelsey Howe.

After that, whale blows appeared to multiply on the horizon, so we happily had our hands full for the rest of the afternoon with numerous whales including: Catalog #3120 who graced us with his presence last September on Roseway; Contrail (#3512), named for a scar on its left fluke that looks like a rocket contrail; and Catalog #1716, an old male first sighted back in 1982!

Contrail's (Catalog #3512) namesake fluke scar.  Photo by Kari Signor.

By early evening, we decided to end the survey to begin our steam to the first pop-up acoustic buoy drop point. Since field work is anything but predictable, several right whales appeared close by, and because whale biologists have no self-control when it comes to photographing or documenting whales, we naturally went back to work. After another hour of working whales and a quick bite to eat, we started setting up for our first acoustic buoy deployment (more details to come in a later blog). Captain Joe and Philip provided most of the muscle to get the heavy anchor and buoy over the side of the boat, while the rest of us documented the event, scribbled down coordinates, relayed (yelled) info into the cabin, and smoothly drove the boat down seas.

The Shelagh men getting mentally prepared for their heavy lifting task.  Photo by Marianna Hagbloom.

All in all, it went off without a hitch just before 10pm and our slight reservations were assuaged when the buoy successfully pinged us back from the bottom of the ocean. The current plan is to retrieve both buoys at the end of our second Roseway trip in late September, so fingers crossed for crazy amounts of whale calls being recorded over the next month or so.

- Kelsey

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