Archive for the ‘Science Blogbook’ Category


On dock before deck

FHL to Griffin Bay

We left the Labs at about 3:45 pm and used the screecher sail and motor, each taking a turn at the helm. We arrived and got an introduction to anchoring around 5:00. Because it was our first day we didn’t do any science but Jason saw a seal. We had great weather.

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Science Blogbook:Prevost to Mitchell Bay

Prevost to Mitchell


We woke to a rainy, gray morning in Prevost Harbor.  We desperately needed to pump out so we went to Roche Harbor first thing and held our morning meeting on the way.  We spent the morning discussing Hannah’s journal club article and headed to the Lime Kiln area, hoping to catch the whales while we satisfied our other science goals.  We were finally able to record some ship data for my project but we were eventually driven north towards Mitchell Bay and shelter by bad conditions.  Before entering Mitchell Bay, we took a conductivity, salinity and temperature cast and also practiced vertical plankton tows.  We took a quick reading of the water clarity using a Secci desk and then proceeded into Mitchell Bay at about 6:15. Scott and Jason made amazing minestrone soup, cornbread and salad for dinner and we settled in for a quiet evening, fending off the wet and cold.

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Science Blogbook: Echo Bay to Prevost Harbor, Stuart Island

Sucia to Stuart


We first started off the day excited to see whales.  We kept in contact with Ivan, Jim, and Mark in order to work as a team to find the whales.  The whales were spoted on the south end of the San Juan Islands and heading towards south of Discovery island.  The big problem was we were way up north and it was going to take us three hours to get to the middle of Haro Strait.  DUring our long journey we played with the fish cam, sailed, and Scott gave us a lecture on Temperature and Salinity Oceanography.  Then it was a battle with the waves!  As we went further south, the waves got higher as we began to feel sick.  WE all kept it together in the name of science!  Once we were down south, we got a message on the radio by Jim that the SRKW were being heard on Orca sound!  It was time to head north and find the whales!  We saw lots of boat action as we got closer to Stuart, and saw lots of the vapors from their blow holes!  WE kept tracking them, but failed because they were head up to the Swanson Channel, in Canadian territory!  We failed and had to turn around and try tommorrow.  We were defeated today, but there is always tommorow!  The Beam Pod is ready for another day of SCIENCE!

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Science blogbook: Jones Island north – FHL

Jones Island north – FHL


Today we went back to Friday Harbor Labs for our week on land. Gato Verde got a deep clean and we are halfway done with the program!!
Now it’s time to work on those proposals!
View Larger Map

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Patos to Echo Bay, Sucia Island

We were greeted by rain in Patos’ Active Bay this morning.  We ate a hardy breakfast and then headed out into the current.  We hung around off the Northeast bit of Patos Island, hoping for more whales. We found no whales, but they did show up near us towards the end of the day.  Unfortunately by that time the day was leaving us and our generator was melting down.  We kept ourselves well entertained all day though, playing with the echosounder, the fish camera, and plankton.  We ended up mooring in Echo Bay and taking the dinghy to shore to stretch our legs and run into CMC friends.  Hopefully we’ll reconnect with the whales tomorrow!

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FHL to Active Cove, Patos Island

We left FHL at around 14:00 and were heading towards Jones Island when we were alerted by whale watchers on the radio that killer whales were by Sinclair Island and heading north.  We continued north, passing Jones and Orcas Islands and cutting in between Sucia and Matia Islands to arrive in Rosario Straight.  We first saw the whales on the west side of Matia Island at approximately 17:15.  They were traveling towards the south side of Matia Island.  We went west along the northern coast of Matia and met up with them again as they traveled north between Sucia and Matia.  Male J-1 was easily recognized from the other individuals.  We began recording with our hydrophone array at 17:27 and continued for a little more than an hour and a half.  Clicks were present throughout the first hour and twenty minutes and through the final twenty minutes there were whistles and calls as well.  There were quite a few tail slaps throughout the entire process along with a couple breaches and spyhops.  We parted ways from J-pod as we passed along the northern side of Patos Island which caused us to choose Active Cove for moorage for the night.  A listening hydrophone was left off of the stern overnight so we would be able to hear if the orcas travel south through Boundry Pass.

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Science blogbook: Mackaye Harbor – Snug Harbor – Jones Island north

Mackaye Harbor – Snug Harbor – Jones Island north


The seas were almost barf-inspiring today as we battled the wind northward along the west side of San Juan.  We tucked into Mitchell Bay to drop off Val for his haircut appointment (?!) and then continued around the northern tip of the island.  All was going well until we got to Spieden Channel, where the current began pushing us backwards.  We were forced to turn on our engines in order to make it to the north bay of Jones Island.  There we romped around in the rain and finished up the eveining with a double header:  Return of the Plankton (dum dum dumm) and The Life Aquatic.

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Science blogbook: Snug Harbor – Mackaye Harbor

Snug Harbor – Mackaye Harbor

This morning we had a quick breakfast and collected a gray water sample for Erica and Peter’s surfactant sustainability project from the water used to wash dishes. We spent the morning discussing our progress in becoming comfortable with data analysis methods.  We pumped out and filled up with fresh water and then headed towards Discovery Island to try to record the metallic plink that you can hear on the Lime Kiln and OrcaSound hydrophones. Because we didn’t hear the plink we recorded the noise produced by the Gato Verde with various electronics on.  We spent the afternoon motor-sailing and working on our individual projects. Hannah and Jason made a lovely dinner of falafel, tzatziki (sp??) and veggie stir fry.  Hannah and I attempted a repeat performance of the Team H Caramel Covered Chocolate Spice Cake and we all enjoyed  some deck yoga.

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Science blogbook: Reid Harbor – Snug Harbor

Reid Harbor – Snug Harbor

After an efficent morning chore period, we had a long discussion of our current scientific methods and how they need to be changed and improved.   Jason also began to examine the OrcaMaster data set.
In the afternoon, we sank a Vemco receiver in front of Val’s house to pick up the pings from the salmon experiments.  The Vemco was deployed at 14:45 at 48, 33.7 and 123, 10.81 in around 10 meters of water.  The serial number was 100913.
We did a quick drill with the hydrophone array and recorded the noise of the Gato Verde at 4 knots and varying speeds below as it slowed down. We did a quick man overboard drill with a hockey helmet that we’d found and then spent the early evening learning how to motor around in the dinghy.  After a filling dinner, everybody worked through the evening. Peter and Val analysed some of the data we took on the Gato Verde’s noise levels and found some interesting results that will need further experimentation.

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Science blogbook: Garrison Bay – Roche Harbor – Reid

Garrison Bay – Roche Harbor – Reid Harbor
We first started off our day heading towards Roche Harbor to do a captain switch and pick up Val.  Before we went into Roche Harbor we did a range (distance estimate) exercise.  We had to guess how far an object was then Jason told us the real answer.  Then we got to play with the radar and see the difference.  Then I got to radio the Harbor Master to find out where we were going to dock while we waited for the rest of the crew!!  While we were there the meat eaters got their fix.  Once Todd showed up with the supplies we refueled the Gato Verde and headed out to Reid Harbor.  Before we went to Reid we floated around Haro Straight hoping to see the Southern Residents.  We deployed the listening hydrophone at a latitude of
48 degrees and 38.7 North and a longitude  of 123 degrees and 12.72 West.  We did see plenty of Harbor porpoies, but we heard no whales.  So then we turned everything off and had journal club discussion which I lead.  The title of the paper was “Underwater noise of whale-watching boats and potential effects on killer whales (Orcinus Orca), based on an acoustic impact model” by Christine Erber.  During journal club we reached Reid Harbor and Matt and I started to cook.  We did not see any whales today, but I am sure we will see them as the season goes on.

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