Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today we logged over 140 km in search of false killer whales, but all to no avail. Late last night we noticed the satellite tagged whale in the group we encountered previously had moved around the north tip of the Big Island (from east, Hilo side). This put them in a reasonable distance and in potentially decent weather conditions for us to find and work with the animals.  This morning, the whales were NW of this tip of the big island, and we decided to look for them. In these strategic searches we check our satellite uplinks repeatedly on shore and from the vessel to assess where the group of whales might be. There's usually a several hour delay from when the satellite tag uplinks the whale's likely location, to when we we receive that information on the i-Phone on the boat. Thus, we're always a few paces behind the whales, guessing where they might be heading. And it's a big ocean! We did not find them today although judging from our tracks and the whale's tracks we were within 20 km of each other. Just not close enough. Hopefully tomorrow!  On a better note, we have 2 new Dtags available to deploy (so 3 total). And despite missing the false killer whales today, we did see 3 groups of Kogia sima and 1 large group of spotted dolphins. And a ~10ft tiger shark yesterday.

Surfing spotted dolphins (A. Mooney; NMFS permit no. 15530)

Tiger shark south of Kona, HI.

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