Celia Barroso

California State University, Long Beach
Los Angeles, California

Logbook index

On land

At sea

Logbook entries
 

08.27.2005: To town and back

It is Saturday and that means it has almost been a week since we (all the students) arrived at the labs. This has been one of the most inspiring weeks of my life. I can't remember a week that could compare to the knowledge I have gained this week. I am so excited to see what lies ahead for next week.

The labs are a beautiful place to live. It is so green and peaceful, and of course our friendly deer are simply adorable. The only slight downfall is the temperature. During the last couple of days the temperature has shot up but it still doesn't mean that the water will be warm! Yesterday we had the pleasure of jumping into 56 degree water, which might I add, is a "peak summer temperature." We had to take a swimming test, rather a test to see how shocked our bodies are to be dunked in that water should the ferry swing by and dump us out of our 10 foot row boat. Well, any way, now we can say we swam in some very cold water.

Because we took the swim test we are now allowed to row to town. Laura and I decided to make a quick walk to town while stopping to pick blackberries along the side of the road. I had never picked berries before and it was a lot of fun! So very tasty too! The plant of course was not a fan of the situation and stuck a small thorn in my finger.

We met up with Courtney, Nicole, and Fredi who rowed to town to maybe hang out for awhile and after discovering a couple of drunk dudes we decided to head home. Fredi was a wee bit tired from rowing against the current for awhile on their way to town and the girls needed a third to row back with so we could switch off if we got tired.

So, off to the rowboat I go! It was fun! The best thing about making our way out of the marina was the people on their boats looking at us and making fun comments like "need a taxi?" Some were helpful and untied our boat and pushed us out. That was nice of them. I am quite positive we were a sight to see among the the big sail boats. Nicole for the first portion of the rowing trip was wearing a headlamp to let people know we were around. She looked fantastic! Thankfully traffic was low and no one headed in our direction. I was not willing to test out my abilities to survive in the 56 degree water.

Once out of the marina it was smooth rowing from there. Fredi and Laura got to the dock as we were pulling up and helped us out. I can see that the adventure is only beginning.

08.28.2005: Shopping and sighting

Yesterday, Saturday 8/27, was an interesting and exciting day. Fredi, Laura, Courtney, Nicole, and I went to the supermarket to get groceries for the week. While we attempted to make it as easy as possible it was a very new and somewhat stressful experience. I have lived with 4+ people my whole life, but I was never really forced to be involved in figuring out what we all wanted to eat, how to buy it, what brand, etc. At my home if the food was there we ate it and if we didn't like it we didn't. So, overall it was a learning experience of seeing the others' reactions as well as controlling my own. I'm glad we got through it and moved on about our business to take an unintentional tour of the island.

Laura, Fredi and I picked up Courtney and Nicole in town to head toward Lime Kiln. Yeah...we got a wee bit lost. Apparently the whole island is beautiful, not just some parts like most places. Mom, I saw a lot of cows! I will get pictures next time :o) Once Laura recognized where we were, which was after making a circle around the northern end of the island, we were well on our way. At Lime Kiln we had something interesting to look at before the orcas came by. I spotted what looked like a floating carcass of a harbor seal. Fredi confirmed it and was very interested in what may be the cause. The current was strong and headed offshore so Fredi didn't have his chance to perform an expert necropsy. It was okay by me because I don't think I would have wanted to witness that yesterday.

I think our group is having a good run of luck. We were at the point for less than 45 minutes before a pod or two showed up. There were people who appeared to have been waiting since the morning. Some think it may have been J and K because those two pods were hanging around in Canadian waters earlier in the day. Just when things were great, aside from a rush of boats near by, some jackass in a private vessel decides it is a good idea to intercept their path as well as rush into the middle of the pod. Needless to say it brought up a lot pf emotions that I didn't think I would feel over a situation like this. I think we all pretty much felt the same.

Once the orcas, and the jackass boat left we decided to head back because Courtney and Nicole should probably not get caught in the dark again on the rowboat. A little ways down the road we spotted the orcas and the jackass boat again! So we pulled over and used binoculars to try to get a reading of the name. It was like this huge sting operation or something. Fredi headed closer to shore and, luckily, the boat headed back and passed right in front of us. It was still far so it was hard to read the name, but hopefully we got something useful. I was still weirded out by how much it angered me.

We did notice that some behaviors occurred more often when that particular boat was harassing the whales, so perhaps those could be signs of agitation and not a happy show of play. I also saw an orca change its direction when the boat approached. Very interesting things occurred with the nasty boat around.

Later Laura, Fredi, and I got home and I began cooking. Shortly after, Courtney and Nicole had made their way back to the cabin just in time for dinner. The stir fry was tasty and we all went to bed as happy campers.

09.08.2005: Soundwatching

I apologize for another long entry, but it is necessary :) Today I was given the wonderful opportunity to join SoundWatch on the water to observe whale watchers and give them information regarding the guidelines of whale watching. The day started out calm with about 7 boats around J and K-pods with L-57 hanging out. We only needed to approach a couple of boats to tell them about the guidelines, so the excitement of the morning was my first experience peeing in a bucket on board with quite a few boats hanging around. That was definitely something to remember. A picture of the bucket (empty) is available.

Three humpback whales decided to grace us with their presence and they were magnificent. They appeared to be two very large adults and a smaller one. Kari, who is around orcas every day, was definitely interested in keeping track of the humpbacks, so we tailed them from a distance for a couple of hours. That was really neat to see and they kept taking deep dives, which meant they would show us their flukes just before going under for 5-10 minutes. After two hours we had to head back to the orcas to regulate :)

At this time J, K, and L were all around and pretty scattered. There were a lot of boats, mainly Canadian, but most seemed to be respectful of the whales and generally it was a few boats per small group of killer whales.

One of the most interesting moments was when the humpbacks and orcas interacted. Twice, the humpys went for a deep dive and the orcas followed. Two people, on different boats, stated that they had heard a sound that sounded like it was a humpback call (deep "oooooooooo"). It would have been awesome to drop a hydrophone in to hear what was up! They were probably talking about the stupid people on the boats that don't have anything better to do with their lives than to see them breathing and taking the equivalent of a stroll. Then again, they could have just been having a normal powwow determining that the orcas are friendly residents and won't eat the humpback babies. Who knows...

We then had to head back because it was getting late, but we had to move slowly because we were in an orca crossing zone. The highlight of the day was when we accidentally got in the path of a mom and her calf. While not very whale wise, and in violation of many of the guidelines, it was not intentional and the pair had crept up behind us. So, Kari cut the engine and let the animals go on about their business. They came up so close to the boat that I could have touched them had I not been enjoying orca-gasm! It was really neat to see them under water and be able to distinguish the saddle patch and eye patch from the rest of their bodies. The pictures should hopefully be up soon. I took those with Kari's camera and she will put them on a CD in the next few days.

SO yeah, overall and amazing day. Oh! I also saw Steller's sea lions on the way to Friday Harbor. They are HUGE! It was nice to see a few of them hanging out because they are rarely seen in SoCal.

Ma, Pa, y Ani, los extrano un monton y gracias por hacer lo posible para que yo pueda disfrutar estos animales fabulosos. Estoy de lo maz feliz, gracias!!

Thank you to everyone who made this possible, I can't begin to express how grateful I feel. It has been amazing here :)

09.21.2005: Last week on land

Wow, these last couple of weeks have just been crammed with activities!

Last week a professor from UCLA (Rafe Sagarin) who is doing research on orange and purple sea stars came up and wanted our help out in the tide pools. Now, the idea of getting up at 5am, then 5:30am, and at 6:00am on the last day was not all that enticing, but it was a fantastic adventure. On the first day we lost sight of the trail and bushwhacked our way back. I've never done that and it was, amazingly, a lot of fun. On the last day we stopped at Roche Harbor for their dough nuts. I believe they put something good, or bad, in them because the energy and and weird, hyper mood that everyone had was awesome! That was one of the most fun and silly days.

We are now into our last week of the land component of this program and AAAHHHHHHHH I'm freaking out :) I am excited to get on to the boat and begin our research but am scared about sailing 24/7. I imagine I will learn even more about myself in the next 5 weeks than I have in these previous 5 weeks; in the previous 24 years at that. We are all going to be very, very close to one another at the end of this trip...

I have no doubt that on this trip, I am making some of the best friends I will ever have. It is amazing how quickly you become family with the people around you when the rest of yours is quite a distance away.

To my biological family and friends,
I miss you guys, but I would like to import you to Friday Harbor. I am in my element with so many other marine-loving geeks like myself. Plus, living a place without smog is new to me and I am not complaining. I love you all.

See you soon!!!

09.26.2005: First full day at sea

What an amazing first day. We started the day with breakfast and planned the daily voyage. We slept in Parks Bay and planned on anchoring in Garrison Bay later that evening. Todd gave us a tour of the boat and taught us the many different parts, many of which I don't remember now, but there was a lot of jargon thrown around. We then took off and began learning to tack. It was a lot of fun, but, by far, the best experience of the day was the encounter with the orcas. We saw many groups, dropped a hydrophone in and heard them live. It was amazing! Later we had dinner, played games, attempted to ID some whale with pictures taken earlier, and then ate animal crackers to get hyper. Who would have known we would go crazy on the first day out? I figured that it would take at least a week, but no, just one day. It was awesome.

09.27.2005: Day two...

Yay for orcas! We only saw a few which were later identified as the L2 group, but we heard a lot from them through the hydrophones. We could clearly hear their blows and it was incredible. Just for side information, this is almost three full days without a shower now (including the 25th when we took off). Gross! Okay, moving on.

We received a points-of-sail lesson and it was nice to get a better understanding today than what I remember after it was reviewed a couple of weeks ago. We didn't do much sailing today because of the lack of winds, but driving the boat was still a lot of fun. I drove us into Roche Harbor, with Todd's guidance of course, to Wescott Bay where we anchored for the night.

09.28.2005: Another day gone by so quickly

We woke up in Wescott Bay and the fog had set in. So, to kill some time we had a winch lesson and a weather introduction (high pressure v low pressure). It was still cloudy and a little foggy when we headed out but this still made for a wonderful day. We tinkered with some hydrophones and other equipment. It started drizzling so I quickly got out my foul weather gear to test it out and I was really warm. It was nice to know that this Southern California girl could handle some cold weather. Little did I know of what was to come the next day. Anyway, we did see some porpoises and thankfully they weren't being chased by J-pod. We headed toward Mitchell Bay and anchored there for the night. Nicole and Courtney made a mean batch of Mac & Cheese with green beans on the side to which I added pancakes (crepes) with dulce de leche for desert. We definitely went to bed as happy campers.

09.29.2005: First rainy day

What an awesome day! We got up and had a quick cleaning of the boat because the rain and wind from last night managed to clean off the deck pretty well. We then had our lesson in the boating rules of the road and were on our way out of Mitchell Bay. As we got out of the harbor and just past Henry Island we let out the sails and began our training in tacking. We were quickly involved in high winds and rain. It was so much fun! Gato Verde hit some waves that had the water crashing over the bow of the boat and for some reason Val felt it would be okay to lay on the trampoline. Yea -- he got a little wet. I looked up and in slow motion I saw a wave come crashing down and engulf him. He was a good sport and laughed it off. I guess he got the shower we all need.

I'm not sure when, but at some point up to 10 Dall's porpoises and one harbor porpoise played out our bow for about 5 minutes, which was a very long time. We were all getting drenched but they were so beautiful. Even Freddy, who was sea sick, felt better after the porpoises showed up. They were amazing and the highlight of my day today! Val's shower was the second best moment of the day, although he might disagree and feel that it was the worst moment of the day.

While we haven't showered in a few days, this has been an invigorating experience with today's windy/rainy weather and bow riding.

09.30.2005: Orca, orca, orca...

More orcas! They were beautiful. We left Roche Harbor after getting water, pumping out our wonderful wastes, throwing out trash and recycle, and picking up a dozen Roche Harbor Dough nuts. We soon tuned into the whale watching channel and heard the location of some whales. We were only a couple miles away! Off to the light house we went. As soon as we encountered the animals we deployed all of the equipment, took pictures, and enjoyed the view. We saw a few members of all three pods, and most of the crew was happy to see J1 and J2, Ruffles (J1) has the most amazing wavy dorsal fin. We've seen pictures, but wow it was cool to see live.

After the whales left us in the dust at the light house, we began slowly heading north, trailing them far beyond our sight. Apparently some orcas got left behind and were hauling their way toward the main groups. We were cruising along and -- pooof, we hear their blows and the chaos of dropping all of the hydrophones began. This routine took place a couple of times today. It was really quite funny until we couldn't untangle all of the cords. We are all mad scientists now!

We finally headed to our final destination for the night at Jones Island where we pulled up to a dock. LAND!!!! After dinner Nicole, Courtney, and I headed to land and crossed this small island in five minutes. It was nice to walk more than what the boat allows. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings for us. We meet our new skipper that will be with us next week. We also get to shower in two days!! How exciting!

10.01.2005: End of the first week

I can't believe that this first week has gone by s quickly. We picked up our new skipper today and she is really nice. She likes showers! We get one every other day. It will be a lot of fun having her around too. We will miss Todd, but he will be back. Because we docked at Friday Harbor for a few hours we all got to make some phone calls and that definitely boosted the mood a little. I miss home a lot and really enjoyed calling my family and John. My new family here has been amazing though and helps the process of being away from home a lot. The most awesome things today were the Dall's porpoises bow riding. They came twice! It was very exciting. They are so beautiful and its amazing how they bring up the mood. At the end of today we anchored at Parks Bay to be near Friday Harbor to drop off Todd. These next four weeks are going to go by so quickly. I love being out on the water and I really don't want them to fly by. But, I guess it just means we are having a good time.

10.03.2005: Up Close and Personal

What a day! Today started off pretty average with a plan to head toward the whales and get some sail training. While we didn't do too much sailing we sure got a fill of whale activity. By the time we arrived to the whale location we were ready to deploy the hydrophones and everything went smoothly. I only tripped over cords once today! I was proud of my klutzy self. We had a nice method of recording, spotting, attempting to ID, and transferring data going; I was impressed. We managed a couple hours of recordings and then the most amazing, unethical thing happened. It wasn't too unethical because the orcas did a sudden change of direction which put us in their path. Brett and Laura yelled 9 o'clock and everyone ran over to see a mom and calf pair within meters of running into our boat. They took one breath, the female slapped the water with her flukes and under they the boat they went. It was breath taking. I can't put into words what I felt when I saw them swim under the trampoline with their white eye patch and belly showing. It was absolutely incredible. I was not expecting that close encounter and was left speechless after a series of "Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!" ran out of my mouth.

10.04.2005: Greetings

Wow, so I wasn't sure that we'd have another exciting moment as thrilling, or even more so than yesterday's close encounter. I will get to today's moment in a little bit but I'd like to mention that today's research went incredibly smooth again. I was taking some ID shots with Val's camera and calling out bearings while Nicole and Courtney recorded while taking their data, Brett was doing his recordings, Freddy, Scott, and Val were troubleshooting the fishfinder, and Laura was recording while taking pictures. We had a good system! The whole system went haywire when we discovered a couple groups of orcas lining up.

We witnessed something that doesn't happen often and I'm not sure if we'll ever see it again. We initially noticed a group of killer whales heading in one direction make a sudden direction change. They all went under, then surfaced together and cruised with their dorsal fins up. Not until someone quietly yelled out "it's a greeting ceremony" did I know what was actually happening. I had only read, heard and seen videos about this phenomenon. It gave me chills to see the two groups lined up and slowly cruising to meet each other with their fins out of the water. Even more amazing was that we could hear them above the water! I still get chills just remembering everything. They sped up a little and began mingling. Thankfully Scott and Val functioned enough to begin recording because they (total of about 20-25 whales) all disappeared and all we had to go by was a bunch of calls being transmitted through the hydrophones. The calls heard at this time were by far the clearest and loudest calls we have recorded. Laura thinks that this may have been a good-bye ceremony. Around this time of year the L's tend to head elsewhere while the J's hang around. Hopefully this wasn't a good-bye ceremony because we'd love to see them some more. Yeah, this was overall amazing. While I realize I keep saying this, I'm not sure what else could be better than what we saw today. I'm not sure what words to use to describe the strange feelings that went through me as I watched this incredible meeting between members of two pods. I felt the need to simply shut up and listen. I definitely felt that I was put in my place by these incredible beings.

10.06.2005

Today was a pretty good day except for the rain. While I enjoyed the rain and high winds for sailing last week, I was not that big a fan of the rain with no wind today when we actually had to do research. I was, however, pretty excited that I could be sitting at the bow not getting wet and not feeling cold. We slept in Griffin Bay at the south end of San Juan Island in hopes of being close to the whales in the morning. We got pretty lucky and they decided to bless us with their presence early in the day. We definitely got some good sound files to work with today.

The coolest thing was when a mom and calf pair approached our boat. We noticed some very strong calls and Rachael, who has done work with Luna who has been separated from his family for years and is living in a harbor, noticed that some of the calls sounded like Luna. Sure enough, it was Luna's mom with her new calf. I was very impressed by Rachael's ability to recognize calls characteristic to Luna and therefore Luna's mom.

We decided to anchor in Mackaye Harbor on Lopez Island. What a beautiful place!

10.07.2005

Mackaye Harbor was wonderful and it was great to wake up there, regardless of having woken up for an hour last night to do an anchor watch. After Val woke me up for the anchor watch last night at 3am, Laura reacted and almost fell off the bed in an attempt to make it easy for me to climb over her. That definitely made waking up a good one. I don't think I wake up at 3am laughing very often. It was great. I've been lucky that I've had company during my watches the last two nights. Rachael just happened to wake up and decided to keep me company a couple of nights ago and last night Val had a mission to burn the carbon off the carbon deposit on the wick of the aladdin lamp. He was sitting on a bucket by the stove with the wick over a flame. I can't believe he stayed up to do that. I would definitely have left it until the morning. Three in the morning was enticing yesterday but I think 4am sounds even better. Let's see how it goes tonight and tomorrow. I've definitely been having an off day, so I am glad that we had a relatively relaxing day in Friday Harbor.

My excitement of the day was that I got to pump out our wastes using the poop-mobile. Brett, who has done it before, and I headed a couple docks away and retrieved the poop-mobile. We brought it back to our boat and began pumping out our wastes. If not for Brett I don't know what would have happened and I'd really rather not think of it. Kudos to Brett who knows what he's doing with our wastes. Everyone kind of went their own ways for a couple of hours and I headed into town to buy a watch, because I can't find mine (how do you lose a bright pink watch?), some ice packs for Broken Freddy, and some other goodies.

We decided to anchor in Matia tonight. This island is beautiful! Even better is that we got to walk on land! It was fun. After we headed onto the island to watch the sunset and play around. Freddy has a busted knee at the moment and Scott took him out for the walk on a wheel barrel. It was awesome! Although, Scott, with a fantastic (fantastic for him, not so much for us) amount of sugar in his system, was wheeling Freddy at amazing speeds. He almost knocked out Courtney in the path! Well, that is an exaggeration, but he definitely was having a wee bit too much fun driving Freddy around. We returned to the boat with brownies fresh out of the oven. Oh no, more sugar! Everything turned out to be moderately sane regardless of the sugar overload. 10.08.2005: Chaos

So the day started it rather nice when I woke up to the sounds of the engines starting. Actually, I was happy about it because it was early and we were heading to find the killer whales. As I'm cleaning up the table a little I see a boat heading straight to ours and not making any turns. I immediately thought it was someone who wasn't paying attention because his boat was on autopilot, but it turned out to be Brett. Apparently he went for a walk this morning and we left him. He sleeps in the hole up front, so I wonder how long it would have taken us to realize he wasn't there. So, we deploy the dingy to pick him up and he gratefully says good-bye to his taxi-boat. Just as Brett and Scott get out of the dingy, the boat does a turn, the engine is started and the rope from the dingy gets stuck in the propellers. So Scott speaks the unspeakable words, "is there a wetsuit on board?" Thankfully Brett saved the first part of the day and there was no need for a wetsuit. Although, I'd like to add that Crazy Laura offered to be the one who has to get in the 50 degree water. And why did she offer? So she could take a hot shower afterwards. There is something so wrong with that logic. Anyway, problem solved, for now.

Less than 10 minutes later the engines stopped. Sweet, another problem. The starboard engine was having problems with fuel flow. Thanks to Scott and Judy it was fixed. Scott apparently likes to climb into small spaces.

Once we were up and running we decided to find some whales! There was definitely some foraging going on and some Dall's porpoises were foraging too. That's what we think, but who knows, maybe it was the whales messing with the porpoises. We saw the Dall's porpoising and behind them a killer whale would appear. It was very strange. Of course I wanted to get pictures so I had the camera ready to go, so I thought. Yeah the camera was in the wrong setting and I forgot to check that and so all of the awesome shots of this interaction are gone. I was a wee bit peeved with myself. Oh well. We recorded some awesome sounds, got some pretty good ID shots and had a lot of fun.

We spent the night at the labs. Yes! A shower! We also thought about going into town to hang out, but we crashed a bit too early for that. Man we are party animals. This was a fun week but it is going by too quickly.

October 15, 2005 Where does the time go? So, these last few days have become a bit of a blur. I remember bits and pieces of things happening but I'm not sure what day they occurred. It is so strange feeling this lack of control over my memory! Anyhow, everything has, of course, been amazing. On Wednesday, the 12th, we had a great sailing day. We had some really good winds and swells. We did a couple of observations around killer whales and then had a sailing day. Now, I had heard about surfing the waves but who knew it would be so much fun? I think we got up to 11 knots at one point or another. And as appropriate as it could be I popped in the Beach Boys and began the surfing with Surfing U.S.A. I had so much fun!

On Friday, I think, we drifted south of San Juan Island for a bit and then decided to head north when some orcas found us! We were the first whale watching boat to see them. How cool was that? So we had a few minutes before we got swarmed with whale watching boats -- poor whales. That is all they get. Boats, ships, and some more boats. Anyway, so that was awesome. I, of course, don't remember much else about the day.

Today we discussed what to do in the case that someone falls overboard. Well, we got a slight practice tonight. Todd, Laura, Kevin (new captain for the week) and I were sitting a the table enjoying each other's company when we hear badunk-thump-thump-thunk. We look at each other, Laura gets outside first and she asks, "Are you okay?" and Courtney answers, "Yeah" and then I hear Laura ask "Are you in the water?" and Courtney calmly responds, "Yeah."

Yeah, she slipped down the stairs at the stern (called the fan tail I think). She was thankfully okay, but wet and cold. She was definitely a good sport as I began laughing when I realized she was fine. Good times.

So how is it that we're passed the third week at sea already? I wonder if I am going to get into some sort of depression when I get home and have to go back to living my normal life. While I miss people at home there are definitely aspects of my life that I don't miss. How can I ever go back to the normal school setting after this experience? That's it! I'm moving in with Val and Leslie! But they don't know it yet -- I'll be slick like the river otter that attacked our boat last night! NUMA NUMA!

Week 4, October 23, 2005

So again this week is a blur with some key, wonderful experiences. We had a guest, Bob McLaughlin, on board and he brought his high tech military night-vision gear with him. We had hoped to do some sort of night follow but conditions werenít right (no whales). We did, however, see a pod of baby orcas! Well, actually, it was a group of Dallís porpoises. We had an awesome time with them! They stuck with us for an extremely long time and weíd like to think that they were interacting with the boat, especially when Scott was weaving the boat through the water. It was awesome. Iím not sure what night, but one night we decided to test out the gear while anchored at fish creek and so Laura had Scott and I head out in the dingy and pretend to be killer whales. So off we went splashing with the paddles, making blows, and Scott stood up to be J1ís dorsal, but didnít do a fantabulous job. Good times.

On Wednesday, October 19, we had another awesome experience with Dallís porpoises. But even better was Lauraís birthday party! We snuck all these things around and she didnít suspect a thing. We sent her out in the dingy after dinner under the impression that we would be picking up Leslie (Valís wife) at the dock in Snug Harbor. They went around and around for quite some time and headed back. As they were coming back Laura believed that we were leaving Leslie for some time without picking her up. How could she not suspect something was up? We would never do that to Leslie. Plus, the girls and I were very secretive while they made a beautiful card for her. Iím glad we surprised her. We had a really yummy ice cream cake that Leslie had made, flowers, gifts, decorations, the worksÖI think Laura felt the love.

On Thursday, after having no clue about where killer whales were and receiving a bunch of pages about the humpbacks we finally decided to go catch us some humpbacks. There were quite a few of them, at least 4, were hanging out by Race Rocks. Laura also officially became a mast hugger. We hoisted her up the mast to check out the humpbacks and Stellerís sea lions hanging around. Humpbacks are awesome, but the sea lions were incredible! A huge male came toward our bow and then swam under the trampoline and came up on our starboard side. We all scrambled to that side and it slowly came up vertically checking us out. Once out of the water he eyed us for awhile, we made eye contact, and he left. That was unreal. Sure enough another sea lions approaches us in a similar way. She, however, took a liking to Scott, how was at the stern and checked him out for awhile. He had a fan. Then those two met up maybe 30 meters away and exhibited some nose-to-nose behaviors. As Scott pointed out, they were no longer nearly as intimidating as we felt they were while going through Cattle Pass. Which reminds me, Scott also speaks Steller sea lion. One morning when we were heading through Cattle Pass a sea lion began barking, Scott responded and it barked back at him. They definitely have strange vocalizations that, to me, sound like an elephant seal vocalization. That was pretty neat too!

So, finally on Friday we find us some whales. It was L-pod and we they were pretty spread out, so, we had a hard time figuring out where to go and meet up with them. The leaders leave us in the dust but the groups that were trailing decided to catch up to us. We set up the sails, killed the engines, towed a hydrophone and waited. A few whales crept up on our starboard side and a couple on our port side and then they disappeared. We didnít hear much of anything until we heard some clicks and insanely loud calls. They must have been right behind us! Anyway, a group of 5 or so came up on our port side and stayed with us for what seemed like forever. One tail slapped, another breached, and just like that they left us in the dust. We found L-pod again later and decided to attempt a night follow. The whales ditched us about midnight, which I feel made for quite a successful night.

We went ahead and tried another night follow with J-pod who was really close together and resting the next day but we only stayed with them for about 5 minutes after it got dark. We wanted to sail again, but one problem with sailing is that you are at the windís will and you canít stop quite as easily. We suddenly got 20 knott winds and took off. We tacked, took some strange turns and the whales were gone. I donít think they ditched us. I believe we ditched them with all of the directions changes we made.

We tried a night follow on Saturday but that only lasted about 5 minutes. So we headed into Port Townsend for the night, which lead to a very long trip back to Friday Harbor. So this morning, after we are about 1/3 into our trip back to the labs, Brett wakes up and tells us that he woke up with the theme song to Gilliganís Island in his head and apparently when people wake up with songs in their heads it means something. A couple days ago after not seeing whales for a long time, Kevin woke up with Chariots of Fire in his head and we later found L-pod. Anyways, so about a 1/3 way into our trip the starboard engine dies. Now, this could be due to fuel flow again or low gas. So we give Todd a call and ask him what it could be. Our question got answered when the port engine went out. YeahÖwe ran out of gas and were thankfully not in a shipping lane. So, Vessel Assist, AAA for boats, came to our rescue and we made it home and showered!

This week was fantastic and Kevin was an awesome captain. I had a lot of fun and attempted to disregard the stress of an unprepared paper and project. So, now I am off to try to finish my project. AHHHHHH!

Rooooger that.