After a fantastic overview of recent research and very current concerns expressed by the commercial whale-watcher industry, Scott and I parted company with the brand new Beam Reach students and their lead instructor, Jason. They took a very rocky ferry ride from Port Townsend across to Whidbey Island. We watched the little white ferry bobbing in the midst of a sea of angry whitecaps and waves.
A few hours later, Scott and I started north on Cat’s Cradle, our 32′ catamaran. With sails reefed and motor running fast and smooth we fought away from Port Townsend with 30 kt winds, 3-6′ waves and an adverse tide. The boat did well and we braved white knuckles and arrived 16 miles north on Lopez Island about an hour after dark. The last miles were done carefully with radar and GPS.
Beam Reach 2009 – Spring Program – BEGINS!
Thanks to Fred Felleman for the appended articles: new B.C. ferries are drawing complaints about being too noisy in air. One has to wonder whether the Coastal Celebration and its two sister ships, the Coastal Inspiration and the Coastal Renaissance, are also noisier underwater than their predecessors. The Celebration
BC’s Noisy New German Ferries
BC’s German Ferries May Be Lemons
BC Ferries Battles Fuel Costs
As killer whale scientists and conservationists we need to be more watchful of the ferry replacement process, particularly the standards for underwater broadband source levels and spectrum levels. We should all consider influencing the ferry selection/design process — on both sides of the border. For future replacements, let’s ensure that reliable estimates of noise impacts are available for existing designs and that strong underwater noise standards are required for new designs.
While the team who has selected designs for the new Washington ferries is confident that the new 144-car ferry will be more quiet than the fleet average, their modeling effort suggests there may be no improvement. The smaller ferry design is in operation on the east coast, but its underwater signature remains unmeasured.
More specifics at the Beam Reach wiki on ship quieting technologies