Victoria, Whales, Plankton, and the Conference

In order to get to Victoria and the conference we had to cross Haro Strait and start heading West through the strait of Juan de Fuca.  We had to make a quick stop in the harbor, in order to pass customs for Canada, but after we were cleared the opportunity arose to watch a few Humpbacks in area.  We got some amazing photos, and Cat even got some recordings of the blows with her fancy parabola set up.  She also had a close call involving a hatch, but everything turned out okay (see her blog for more information).  After the we got some amazing videos and pictures of the Humpbacks we turned around and found some transient killer whales near by.  We heard that the transients had killed three seals just before we got to them, and when we found them they were all resting.

One major downside to spending time with the whales was we missed a chance to have a tour at Race Rocks on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.  The institute there sounded very interesting, and earlier Beam Reach classes have attempted to measure the underwater noise from a tidal turbine located in that area.  On the way into Victoria Harbor Scott deployed some Plankton towing equipment, and by using a microscope we were able to find some very interesting critters.  My Favorite was a bright orange Polychaete worm that had some very impressive looking spines.

We went to explore the city of Victoria as a group on our first night there, and in the end we all agreed that the city felt very strange after four weeks on the boat.  The next day was completely filled with the acoustics conference, and it was a new experience for me.  We heard a broad range of presentations that applied to current acoustical research, and our professor Jason Wood gave a talk about the killer whales we are studying.  Over all is was a great experience, and it was very interesting to see and meet other scientists that work in the field of acoustics.  Cat and I had a great opportunity to talk with the keynote speaker Christine Erbe, which was extra cool because we read  a few of her publications early on in the quarter.  Cat got some very interesting contacts, and I had a good time discussing my project with her.  We had a great chance to meet other students and see them present their personal research, and one in particular was in the process of studying the same killer was as Beam Reach.  We are currently on land and we are about to leave for our final week on the boat tomorrow.  Personally I am going to miss the atmosphere of the Gato Verde, and I plan on visiting Todd and the Gato Verde in Bellingham with my family in future.

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