|An acrobatic display by a melon-headed whale, sufficiently far from the boat so as not to risk being tagged (Photo: A. Mooney, NMFS permit # 15530 to CRC)|
Melon-headed whales are rather small and don't particularly like being approached by the boat. They are often found in large groups, and when we do encounter a group of around 300 individuals, which is not uncommon, we are typically able to find some cooperative animals to get close to in order to deploy additional satellite tags and our suction-cup DTAGs. However, in the last couple days we've found small groups (around 20-40 individuals) and none of them appeared to be particularly keen to be tagged.
|A small group of melon-headed whales ((Photo: A. Mooney, NMFS permit # 15530 to CRC))|
So instead, we deployed the towfish to make some acoustic recordings while attempting to satellite tag the most cooperative individuals by air gun. While we were unsuccessful in achieving the latter, we did manage to record a range of clicks produced by some of the whales.
Today the wind is likely to have picked up, so it may be that we head south in search of some other species. We hope to head north again as soon as possible.