Author Archive

Beginning the Countdown

I have the sound of this breach!Pretty neat.51023
All of last week seems to be blurred together because so much has been going on. We had a lot of time with the whales, especially when we headed all the way up the Georgia Straight to catch them. I tried to take a plankton tow up there but lost the bottle off the back of the net and ended up using a rubber scraper to get what microscopic life I could from the sides of it. The plankton ID stuff has been a little side project of mine and I was hoping to map the types of plankton along different areas in the San Juans with Robin, a post-doc fellow here at the labs, but I only ended up doing 2 samples all week! Leslie came on with Val yesterday and that was a lot of fun. We had mexican sushi for lunch and homemade pesto pasta(made by Dominique and Laura) for dinner. We cleaned the Gato Verde bottom to top today and even with all that team work it still took around 6 hours. It is a relief to be back in home sweet home S1.

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Showah day

We didn’t see any orcas the first week out but we did learn a lot and we had fun and beautiful weather a lot of the time. I like the following chores the best: navigation, systems log, and swab the decks (it’s fun to use the squeegee) , in that order. The most fun place to hang out is the trampoline, but the cabins are cozy which makes them nice. We got to trek around on Jones Island a little bit on our first night out and there were a lot of bald eagles (juveniles and adults) all over the place. We have gotten to practice some recording and localizing and I really think we will be ready when we run into the orcas .

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We're a good looking bunch!


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A Friday Harbor Phenomenon

I am amazed and refreshed not to find a McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, or even a Subway on any of the San Juan Islands. I know for sure because I checked on google maps. I was wondering what makes the town itself look so…pure? (I can’t think of a better word) and the absence of those “golden arches” really makes a difference. While I am a big fan of a lot of fast foods, especially Wendy’s mandarin chicken salad and taco bell chalupas and most subway concoctions, I didn’t even notice they were missing until I thought about it just now after reading parts of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”by Michael Pollan. I suggest it to anyone who is or has ever been curious about food.

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April 3- National Tweed Day

Up to this point we have learned about acoustics and non-salmon fish. Val helped me install a program on my computer to practice orca calls so I can distinguish them. We saw orcas on only the second day here, but there are a lot of other animals too.

I rowed into town today to get groceries. They had some post cards, but I’m holding out for another card store I saw downtown. Dominique and Laura and I are all improving on rowing, and Laura is the best so far. Actually, I guess Ryan and Juan are better but I wasn’t counting them because they took bikes instead today. The food is really good in the cafeteria and they have a lot of variety. I have already met other people from UW that are doing studies of the nervous systems of sea slugs and some other stuff, but ours is the best. Of course I knew that, but when we say we’re from Beam Reach, it is re-inforced because they all say “OH Man! Yours is the best!” Then they say “Aren’t you supposed to be on a boat?, Where’s your boat?” so we explain about that and it’s a good conversation starter.

I picked my topic today. It’s “Jumping for Joy”: Studying the Meaning Behind Breaching and other Percussives (tail slapping, splashing) In San Juan Island Southern Resident Orcas .

I want to do some PR for the program, so I will say that I have already learned a lot more than in a typical classroom. Val and Jason let us use some musical instruments so we could understand some of the acoustic equipment and we did an experiment with clapping outside to measure the speed of sound.

One of the most wonderful things about Friday Harbor is that they seem to love the orcas as much as we do. On the first day they were spotted it seemed like the whole town dropped what they were doing to see them.

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