I have lived in San Diego (Point Loma) since 1973, having spent the five prior years in Hawaii, Vietnam and other garden spots after leaving Tucson in 1966.
Life has been very good to me over the years. I always have something to look forward to... keeps me happy!
July 16, 2010
I am going to be in Alaska from July 17th through August 2nd working as a "deckhand" on a 70' research boat studying the habits of the Orca Whales in the Inside Passage near Juneau. Since this is such a different kind of trip and everyone wants to know more about it... including me, I am sending out this email with a couple of links and a photo of the boat, the Steller 2. (I am told it is a lot nicer inside than its outside appearance...and I hope that is true).
My duties will be pretty light, just helping launch the skiffs etc. It is mostly it is about the photography opportunities. There are 3 crew members, including my cousin Robin (she is the cook and the reason I get to go along) and a team of 6 researchers from NOAA. I understand they will be placing GPS sensors in the dorsal fins for tracking purposes (not sure just how they do it, but I understand they use a crossbow).They also take some biopsies to study their eating habits and overall health. Beyond that I am not sure what they will be doing. I do know we are covering about 1600-1800 nautical miles on the trip and will be on the water about two weeks. It should be very interesting and I should get some great photos (with their consent of course). I have posted below a couple websites which explains it all in a little more technical/professional terminology.
Save up your Orca questions as I should know a lot more about thoses beautiful mammals (actually they are large dolphins, not whales) in a few weeks.
We are now into the 2nd week on the research boat in Alaska. We tagged a Killer Whale two days ago and today observed an incredible sight... 8 Humpback whales doing a cooperative lunge feeding. The whales dive in unison and create a circular net of bubbles around a school of herring and then simultaneously surface with their mouths open literally inhaling many pounds of herring, The baline in their mouths filter out the water and then they ingest the herring. We watched them do this several times. Amazing to see.. and to photograph this scene.
We are now anchored in a small inlet awaiting tomorrow's adventure. Weather is now clear which makes for better viewing. Back in San Diego Aug 2nd.