#8: Trying To Get Our Ship Together

With the weather looking improved and our plankton net onboard, the Roseway team decided to leave Cape Sable Island and head back out to sea on August 13.

Kim Davies, working on the MEOPAR WHaLE project, discusses our tracklines with Moe after delivering a plankton net.

However, as Captain Joe was doing an engine check, he discovered that our fresh water pump had failed. Moe and Joe were able to get a ride to purchase a new pump from a nearby shop, but installing it gave us a little problem which left Joe a bit wet.

Joe takes an unexpected shower.

Since most of us couldn't lend a useful hand during this process, members of the team were kept occupied by going for walks on the beach, reading, and practicing knot tying.

Reading party!

With fog having rolled in during the repair and most of the day now gone, we stayed one more night and left at 5 AM on August 14. However, the thick fog was still out there- so much fog, in fact, that we spent most of the day searching for a break in the blanket.

Listening station in the fog.
Since we couldn't see anything, we did listening stations in the hopes that we would hear whales breathing, breaching, or slapping at the surface. Finding a clearing, we were finally able to start surveying around 4:15 PM. Two feeding humpbacks and some leatherback turtles were sighted.

What fog looks like.

The night was spent at sea, with a watch rotating every two hours. Under a clear sky, distant fishing vessel lights could be seen from miles away- signs that we were no longer cloaked in thick fog. As the sun began to rise, Joe went to start the engine and discovered another problem: our generator wasn't working. While not being able to make coffee or toast was worrisome, our ship's electronics (such as GPS) run on 12 volt from the generator too, which, believe it or not, are more necessary than a cup of hot coffee. The Shelagh was going to have to head to Yarmouth to get assistance. Luckily, being at the western edge of Roseway, some time was shaved off our transit. We surveyed for about four hours before approaching port, seeing several groups of harbor porpoise along the way.

Joe's eggs and sad "raw toast."
Parts for the generator were ordered today, and will be brought down from Halifax tomorrow for installation. Yarmouth is a charming town which has been keeping us entertained as we wait- shopping, a yoga class, and visits to the library, coffee shops and a nearby golf course have helped to keep our spirits high. I'm sure you can imagine though, how thrilled we will all be when we see our first right whale....

The Shelagh at dock in Yarmouth.


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