After a whistle-stop weekend of introductions, briefings and training sessions, our new team were probably not expecting fish food and ‘rock ‘n’ roll’, as they set foot onto the Physeter – our research vessel.
The whales were playing ‘hard to get’, and the dolphins were a ‘no show’ for whole afternoon at sea. We eventually tracked down two fin whales, whose constant diving made them even harder to locate in the rise and fall of the large swell. As the boat pitched, rocked and rolled, any romantic notions of cetacean watching in calm sun-kissed seas quickly evaporated from the minds of many – replaced with the nauseous reality.
Momentary distraction and the highlight of the day came in the form of a captured loggerhead turtle. This sizeable specimen was tagged (in the hope of recording future movements), vital statistics taken and returned to its ocean home.
So a tough first day ’at the office’ with cetaceans hard to find, but the silver-lining was the first turtle tagging of this year’s expedition…and the fish also got fed (more than once)!
Expeditions are about taking the rough with the smooth, and hopefully we’ll get the latter soon…
In the meantime an article about our work on the Azores has appeared in a major Portuguese newspaper http://observador.pt/2015/04/19/vida-selvagem-mergulha-nos-acores/ and we hear that supremely dim Pippa Middleton reports having eaten whale meat http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/Pippa-Middleton-whale.html#cr….