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brenda rone  

The North Pacific Right Whale Research Cruise scheduled for the month of August in the Gulf of Alaska is designed to locate, photograph, and hopefully satellite-tag a critically endangered North Pacific right whale.

This cruise represents one leg in a four-month Collaborative Large Whale Survey that is being conducted along the west coast by the Southwest Fisheries Science Center and the Alaska Fisheries Science Center aboard the NOAA Fisheries research vessel Reuben Lasker.

Brenda Rone (pictured left) is NOAA Fisheries affiliate and chief scientist on the cruise.

  Kelsey Miller and Nick Tucker
Kelsey Miller and Nick Tucker prepping sonobuoys.

Megan Slack
Megan Slack listening for right whales.

Kelly Cates
Kelly Cates with camera.

August 19, 2015

Good morning!

After losing a large portion of two days to a storm that forced us to seek refuge in Ugak Bay, we started working north on our inshore stratum Tuesday evening. We had to endure some healthy sized swells but had fair winds and a clear horizon.

By Wednesday evening the seas had settled down. Sightings were scattered. Of the animals identified, we had sperm, humpback and fin whales and Dall's porpoise.

It's always challenging trying to identify animals with any kind of uncooperative sea but yesterday we had the added bonus of one blow wonders, never to be sighted again. Unfortunately, nothing we saw even provided a fleeting hope of a right whale.

Acoustics continues to detect humpback, fin, blue and sperm whales.

We have another large system with gale force winds beginning to form that will wipe out our entire survey area. We are trying to cover as much ground as possible before we are forced to hide again on Friday.

It appears to be the 2 day good, 2 day VERY BAD dance. It looks like it will last all of Saturday as well.

We will tuck in somewhere close to shore to the north. We will then finish out the inshore and move offshore before we need to make our way back to Kodiak. Let's hope the seas settle quickly!


Read more about this important cruise. Listen to a recording of a right whale call. Check out some photos! Check back here for updates on what Brenda and our other scientists see while on the cruise.


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