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Viewing the World from a Two-Wheeled Perspective

12 April

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in Azores | Comments Off on 12 April

12 April (Diary written for Biosphere Expeditions) Our first Expedition is over, and most of the team has gone home. Our last day on the water showed us both the highs and the lows of being on a research team. Once again we were lucky in our sightings– sperm whales with babies, more fin whales, and a species not often seen here: false killer whales. We then spent the entire afternoon without any sightings, following transect after transect listening for, and not finding, a last sperm whale. We did manage to take a group picture (see below), and Axel designed and painted our 2012 Biosphere Expeditions remembrance on the wharf. ~Alisa       Please follow and like...

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09 April

Posted by on Apr 11, 2012 in Azores | Comments Off on 09 April

09 April (Diary written for Biosphere Expeditions) Today the joke on board the Physeter was“common fin whales” because we usually see a lot of common dolphins, and today every whale we saw was a fin whale! It was a key day for dolphins—a lone common dolphin bow riding a large fin whale kept letting us know the location of the whale, even when the large male changed direction. Then, just outside the harbor we spotted a new species for this slot, the bottlenose dolphin. Congratulations to Axel, today’s photographer, for setting a new record for the number of photographs taken (1000+!) Here is a series of pics I took on “sports” mode of a fin whale sighting: Please follow and like...

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07 April

Posted by on Apr 10, 2012 in Azores | Comments Off on 07 April

07 April (Diary written for Biosphere Expeditions) Bad weather at sea kept us on land yesterday, giving us a chance to catch up on data entry as well as our rest. Seas between the islands were still quite rough today, and had us hanging on quite firmly to the railings. It was another eventful day, beginning with a pair of male sperm whales that had both stopwatch teams timing the blow rates. Unfortunately, they did not cooperate and give us a grand fluke ending their performance, but simply disappeared. The other whales we saw (sei whales, fin whales and a blue whale) were equally uncooperative, giving us a merry chase with the catamaran and teaching to expect the unexpected when looking for whales. We saw two loggerhead turtles, which also eluded us for tagging. The teams are working well...

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First full day at sea

Posted by on Apr 10, 2012 in Azores | Comments Off on First full day at sea

04 April (Diary written for Biosphere Expeditions) Our first full day at sea, and it was one that is going to hard to beat. It seems we hit the large-whale jackpot thanks to our biologist Lisa Steiner and our Skipper Nuno. Today’s sightings included Sei whales, Fin Whales, Blue Whales and…a Sperm whale! Almost all of our encounters were “random” (meaning not reported by the on-shore lookouts, but rather by us while on the water.) Sarah took excellent photographs and we were able to confirm that we saw the same groupings of fin whales in two separate locations. Tomorrow we’ll check our identification photographs against an international database to see how far and wide “our” whales have traveled. Martin was our hero today when he heard the Sperm whale clicks through the headset just after we’d given up and...

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Half Day on the Water

Posted by on Apr 9, 2012 in Azores | 2 comments

Well, I took my anti-sea-sickness pills, and voila’! Did almost okay with a half day on the boat. I *know* I get sea sick, so I was prepared…many of the other team members weren’t sure, and many did not take pills or wear wrist bands. At the end of the three hours, we had five people feeding the fish from the back of the boat:-) Here’s the diary entry I wrote for Biosphere. 03 April We’re just off the water and Tim was our super-spotter of the day. He spotted the two dolphin fins that led us to a group of common dolphins. We photographed them and recorded pertinent data, then enjoyed their frolicking around the boat for a few moments before we changed course in search of other cetaceans. On the way back to the harbor Tim then spotted a turtle. Quite...

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Expedition Preparation

Posted by on Apr 8, 2012 in Azores | Comments Off on Expedition Preparation

After several days of preparation, Malika and I were ready to greet the first volunteers. Here’s my diary entry for our first day (written for Biosphere Expeditions) 02 April It’s been an exciting day here in Horta with everyone arriving in time for lunch at Peter’s. It’s been the warmest day so far (20 degrees) and the sun was shining strong. Elmar even sported a nice little sunburn at dinner! The team met this afternoon to talk about expedition procedures, safety, and base camp ins-and-outs. Our biologist Lisa Steiner gave a brief overview of our research here and how important our work is here in the Azores. We are all quite excited to head out onto the water tomorrow. In the morning we’ll have a briefing on how to use the equipment, the data we need to collect, and...

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