The morning has been packed full of Common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) sightings with over 10 pods between 06.30 and 11.00 this morning and another two pods seen between 12.00 and 12.30pm. Also there were 2 different sightings of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were reported with 3 whales seen in the first sighting and a single sperm whale seen between 09.00 and 09.30. In addition to this a pod of pilot whales (Globicephala melas) between 25 and 30 strong were sighted at 10.00 this morning.
Principal scientist, Professor Monty Priede, conducted a tour of all the equipment which will be used by the various scientists on board the ship. This allowed everybody to gain a perspective of the methods being employed when we reach the sampling stations.
More cetaceans were seen between 13.00-14.00;a pod of 3 sperm whales and a sighting of a single sperm whale. At approximately 14.30 there was a rare sighting of 5 Beaked whales (Mesoplodon sp.). Ten white sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus acutus) were seen at approximately 15.00 and there was a sighting of a pod of 20 striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba) in the afternoon.
All in all there have been about 23 different sightings of the common dolphin today with an average pod size of 10 and 4 different sightings of sperm whales with a total of 8 individuals seen.
The daily meeting at 16.00 was held and the proposed route that the ship will take and where the equipment will be deployed was discussed in regard to the southern station.
Throughout the day the Oceanlab team have been finishing installing all the necessary equipment to their landers in preparation for our arrival at the sampling stations. Also Plymouth Marine Laboratory have been busy processing water samples to gather information concerning primary productivity in the areas sampled.
University of Aberdeen, Oceanlab
18th July 2007