Friday, July 16, 2010

Round Two in The Gulf!

Round two, and I find myself in the Gulf once again surveying bottlenose dolphins. This time the crew and I are stationed in Pascagoula, Mississippi, working from the local research lab. The flight was great, no delays and I met a delightful Australian from Atlanta to Mobile, Alabama, where we landed. (I’m a talker, so it was nice to have someone to chat with for the hour.) After stopping by the lab briefly, we grabbed a quick dinner—for me, fried green tomatoes and some crab bisque—mmmm!-and headed back to the hotel to crash for the evening. The Pascagoula La Quinta Inn is where we are setting up camp for the next week.

Photo Courtesy of Deepwater Horizon Response Photostream- PORT PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Pelicans and other local fowl relax in Port Pascagoula, Miss., near one of the largest oil refineries in North America, May 6, 2010.

We woke up early this morning to grab a quick bite at the continental breakfast and headed for the lab for our first day of work. We had to get a special exemption to go out on the water today since officials shut down all work operations this afternoon due to tropical storm Bonnie moving in our direction. Knowing that the weather would be fine this afternoon specifically, they granted us leave until 5 p.m. We set off for a full day of dolphin sightings and came across so many; we watched as they indulged in aerials, tail slapping, and socializing of all sorts!! What an experience! We found two rather large groups that we spent the majority of our day with, and all of the excitement helped me to forget the stagnant heat emanating all day. I found myself a little sunburned, but nothing too severe. This experience was so different from the work in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Most of our time here was spent with dolphins. In Grand Isle, we were lucky if we had 2-3 sightings per day. Close to 5 p.m. this afternoon, we received a call ordering a mandatory end to our day. We returned to the lab, loaded up the boats and hit the road for some dinner. We stopped at a Ruby Tuesday and were all so thankful to have some sort of hot meal. I was running on a muffin and a banana that day—not enough and not usual- so I very much enjoyed ALL of my dinner this evening. We are still unsure as to what this weekend will bring. We have been told no one is working on the water for the next two days, so it looks like we will be waiting it out. I’ll keep you all posted!! Thanks as always for tuning in!!

Photo Courtesy of Petra Gustkey

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