June 9, 2017
Written by: Alexandria Hahn
Edited by: Amy Whitt
My first field day was on June 9, 2017, and it was incredibly eventful. We had nine sightings in total, three of which were unidentified dolphin species. The others were sperm whale sightings, and they were AWESOME! Seeing these beautiful animals in the wild was so amazing to me, and it really validated why I wanted to be on this cruise in the first place.
I got perspective on how difficult it can be to spot these animals if they happen to be far away. We mostly kept track of the blows from the sperm whales, which were quite big and slanted. The most exciting part was being able to see them fluke (raise their tail fins all the way out of the water) right before they dove down deep into the water.
Adult sperm whales are typically anywhere from 40 to 60 feet long which is HUGE…bigger than a school bus! It’s funny to see how small they look through the big eye binoculars when they are far away, but everyone keeps telling me that I will get a better perspective on the different sizes of marine mammals when I finally get to see dolphins through the big eyes. It is exceptionally difficult to identify an animal through the big eyes when they are far away, and I am beginning to see how much work it is to serve as an observer on a survey. However, it is super exciting when you do finally have some sightings and are able to confirm them with the acoustics team.
My first field day was full of these awesome sightings and made me eager to get on the big eyes again! On the ship, it is difficult to keep up with my blog because we are so busy, but I’ll soon post more updates and pictures soon here and also on my blog.
***This blog article is part of our LADC-GEMM 2017 Survey blog series. Check out more articles in this series here, on the LADC-GEMM website, and on Alexandria Hahn’s blog. Also, be sure to “Like” the new LADC-GEMM Facebook page!***