This week on Pelagos has been action packed! Thanks to the good weather and sea conditions we were able to go out and sight different cetacean species every day.
On Tuesday we headed towards France surveying the slope area where we were lucky enough to have an encounter with a large group of striped dolphins. In this instance they were displaying feeding and hunting behaviour, in which the estimated 100 individuals worked together to herd the fish. This behaviour is known as porpoising, and those onboard were very pleased to witness this rare sight. The next three days were filled with sperm whales, for whom we were able to collect the important respiratory patterns as well as photo-id, photo-grammetry and acoustic data.
On Friday the participants experienced first hand the difficulties and the thrills that the researchers face while tracking these animals. As soon as our dedicated software detected the echolocation clicks of four individuals, all hands were on deck to help in the spotting of the emersion points as well as taking down information about each of the animals. These individuals are believed to have been feeding in the underwater canyons which they frequent.
Striped dolphins continued to be part of the week, playing in our bow waves and leaving everyone amazed at their aerial displays. On our last day at sea we chose not to deploy the hydrophone and to head out towards the pelagic waters in the eastern part of the study area. This turned out to be a good plan as just a few hours after entering the pelagic waters we spotted a fin whale. Although common, this species always provides an awe-inspiring sight. Once again the individual appeared to be feeding and so performed more regular long dives, leaving all onboard holding their breath and searching the surface for the next blow. After spending a few hours with the animal collecting scientific data we left it to enjoy its food and while navigating towards Sanremo feasted on our own delicious supper.
Elisa, Valerio, Jenny and Rebecca
Following link is for participants of this week's expedition, showing the ship's route, pictures of some of the sightings and of some moments of the cruise which were memorable (or even not so...).
Ai partecipanti al turno è dedicato un link con il percorso effettuato durante la settimana, le foto di alcuni avvistamenti e qualche immagine dei momenti da ricordare - importanti e non.