#17 Bay of Warmth (Part 2): Lets Get on the Water!

This is Part Two of a series of posts about surveys taking place in the Baie de Chaleur in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Read Part One here.

Once we arrived in our temporary home of Janeville, New Brunswick we quickly went to work getting things ready for survey.  We unpacked, set up equipment, launched the boat, checked the weather and met about various trackline strategies.  Even though we were in an area completely new to us we had some advantages.   The biggest advantage was that we had colleagues in the general vicinity conducting aerial surveys for right whales. We hit the ground running with one day on land followed immediately by three long boats in a row.  

Monica (left) and Brigid (right) on watch during survey in Baie des Chaleur. Photo: Alex Loer

With such a small team we had no breaks while on the water.  We rotated from two hours of observation to one hour at the helm and back to two hours of observing.  In addition, we had no dedicated data recorder which meant driving and recording was done by the same person.  This was challenging in rougher sea states.

Brigid is logging data while at the helm.  Survey effort was logged electronically. Photo: Alex Loer
Sea State Zero! Photo: Alex Loer

Our first three days on the water were productive.  We didn't see any right whales but we felt good about our efforts.  Logistically speaking things were going great. We logged many miles of trackline data right from the start. We were quickly learning about the local wharfs, boat ramps and weather patterns of the area.  We felt confident and well seasoned, now we just needed to find some right whales.  Each morning brought new anticipation, excitement and a bit of nervousness.  With only eight boat days of survey budgeted each day without whales brought a new sense of urgency to our time.

 R/V Callisto is returning to Stonehaven Wharf at sunset. Photo: Alex Loer

Keep reading! Click here to read Part Three!.

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