After a long weekend off the water, we are finally able to commence on this beautiful Monday morning! With current tropical storm Bonnie heading our way, the “higher ups” put the kabash on our surveying over the weekend. But after two long days of waiting, it was exciting to wake up and see blue skies and sunshine! We went straight to the lab and started to load the boats. Food coolers, boat instruments, extra water and life jackets—CHECK! And all aboard! We put the boats in the water and took off to find our track lines.
The wind was whipping, but we worked through it all morning long. Our first sighting was about 15 minutes into the survey and the dolphins today were slightly less interested in our presence than the dolphins surveyed on Friday. The first dolphins we sighted were rather evasive, showing their dorsal fins for a moment, disappearing and then resurfacing in a completely unexpected area. It was a challenge to keep up with them to say the least! We ended that sighting and continued on. The heat has been intense, but a scattered storm lightened the temperature slightly which was much appreciated by all! We kept looking for more dorsal fins and were coming up a little short as the wind was getting stronger.
Wind is probably one of our worst enemies on these surveys; I noticed how difficult it became to spot a floating pelican resting in the water due to the heavy chop created—you can imagine how difficult it is to spot a small dorsal fin! We were lucky to find a few more dolphins before turning into a wind from the southeast, we had to call it a day. Our boat was pounding on the water, which was throwing us back and forth. The chop was pretty heavy and the hope of spotting any more dorsal fins was gone. We turned around to head back to the dock. While a bit of a slow day, good news is that we saw no oil between either crew! Tomorrow, the plan is to head out at 7 a.m. sharp. More to report soon, with possible special guests joining our crew, so stay tuned!!
Photo courtesy of Deepwater Horizon Response Photostream- The Coast Guard Cutter Decisive steams through the Gulf of Mexico as dark clouds from Tropical Storm Bonnie enter the gulf.