Saturday dawned bright and clear. Blue skies, light wind and minimal swell. A most perfect day to be out on the Ocean. The Living Ocean Marine research team led by Bill Fulton met on board MV SALT for our Humpback Whale Migration Research trial run and were thrilled when skipper Mark Farrell announced it was a perfect day to look for whales, so training would continue offshore.
And what a brilliant call it was. As we headed out to the open ocean we came across 2 New Zealand fur seals basking in the sunshine and not long after we heard the call we’d all been waiting for. Whales ahead!!
And so began our exhilirating enchanting glorious encounter with three curious humpback whales. Always mindful to keep the distance that our research licence permits us, we observed in awe and wonder as the whales swam, ahead, behind and then towards us. We were squealing in delight as one whale spy hopped, just checking us out I guess!! Our onboard photographers captured some amazing images and our researchers were able to collect valuable data as they trialled the tracking system and behavioural iPhone/iPad application program designed by Bill.
It was a brilliant day for all of us so fortunate to be onboard. The dry run was highly successful in ironing out a fewtechnical issues and revealing some great new data recorders. We look forward to furthering our Ocean Marine Research work over the next few months as the great whales migrate past our shores.