Archive for October 11th, 2007

Boat recordings, Roche, and water-use

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


We started the day making phone calls and connecting with friends to try to figure out where the whales were.  There were rumors that whales had been spotted north off Pender Bluff, in between Pender and Moresby Islands.  As no whales had been found south, we decided to motor north to have a look around.  We made it as far as Turn Point on Stuart Island, and decided to drop the hydrophone and listen.  As we listened, we watched and waited and reconnected with our friends, who had traveled north faster than the Gato Verde, but had not been able to find the whales.  Todd finished up sewing the sail, as we finished up lunch at Turn Point.  Afterwards, Tim took vessel noise recordings of the Gato Verde from Gatito.  The students continued to catch up on data analysis and sustainability reports before heading into Roche in the late afternoon.  We pumped out our holding tank, filled up our water tank, and threw in some laundry before meeting up with the other group at Hotel de Haro.  David gave us an entertaining and informative tour of Roche’s water treatment facility.  We then headed back as a group to the boat for dinner—chicken curry and wild rice from Friday Harbor Labs with tempah and root vegetable stew prepared by Anne.  During dinner, Jason gave us statistics on water use to ponder over—the average American uses 69 gallons/day, while onboard the Gato Verde we only use 2.61.  After finishing up the apple pie from the Friday Harbor Labs, the VATO group grabbed quick showers at Roche before anchoring just outside of the harbor.

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Whale soup

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Although we were expecting gale force winds, we woke up to a calm morning and flat seas at Garrison Bay.  After porridge prepared by Ash and Tim, we headed out past Roche so Tim could record vessel noise from the Glacier Spirit.  Tim successfully recorded a number of drive-by’s at different distances and speeds.  We then headed back out and down the west coast of San Juan Island to try to catch up with the whales before the weather caught up with us.  We received reports of members of J and L pods at False Bay and Eagle Point, so we continued to motor along the coast.  We found J1 near Edward Point and deployed the hydrophones, getting some great recordings of calls, whistles, and clicks.  Soon, we were surrounded by the whales.  After a couple of hours recording and a great variety of vocalizations, Tim was able to organize another set of drive-by’s with Ocean Magic II.  Tim altered his methodologies and had the vessel circle the Gato Verde instead of deploying the buoy, which seemed to work much more efficiently.  Afterwards, we headed north along the coast of San Juan Island until we passed the whales, and again deployed both the hydrophone array and the high frequency hydrophone.  We saw a number of very young animals and recorded some great calls for another couple of hours.  Tim tried to organize a third drive-by with Prince of Whales, The Jester, but they were heading out to find humpbacks off Race Rocks, so Tim was only able to make a quick recording as they were departing.  We started to head back to Garrison Bay to prepare for the 25-35 knot winds predicted for the night, but stopped one more time to watch the whales just before heading in.  The whales were spyhopping, tailslapping, and resting at the surface.  Anne finally dropped the hydrophone one more time, while the rest of us took photos and watching through binoculars.  Alex and Shannon started preparing vegetarian moussaka, while Tim lowered the anchor at Garrison.

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Back on the Boat

Monday, October 8, 2007


We woke up at Roche—Anne and Alex prepared scrambled eggs with real New York bagels sent over by Alex’s mother.  Ash was leader-of-the-day and got the ball rolling, giving us a quick navigation and systems overview.  There were many reports of whales along the west coast of San Juan island, so after breakfast and a few logistical phone calls regarding boat parts, we motored out.  The main sail was taped back together underway, as we continued to listen for updates on whale whereabouts.  The whales were south of Eagle Point.  So, we grabbed lunch on the fly (more NY bagels, ramen, hard boiled eggs) as we approached J1—that guy, the San Juan celebrity.  We caught up with members of J and L pods and deployed both the high frequency hydrophone and the hydrophone array.  After a little troubleshooting with the deployments, we heard a cornucopia of clicks, a cacophony of calls, and a (small) wealth of whistles.  Alex took surveys for SoundWatch, and then Tim recorded drive-by vessel noise with Explorathor.  By this point, the whales had moved west.  We still had to sew our main sail and the winds were predicted to pick up tonight (25-35 knots), so we motored north to Garrison, to meet up with Jason to exchange data backed up the Gato Verde hard drive for a fan belt.  We dropped anchor off British camp and settled in to sew and study our data collected from the afternoon.

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