An Exciting First Day of Summer at OrcaLab!!-a day in the life of our research assistants
Rain and mist had set in heavily over OrcaLab, and the internet was down. All seemed calm and quiet out at sea so Dr. Paul Spong took us on “June Cove”, the larger of OrcaLab’s two boats, over to Parson Island to try to fix the problem and get OrcaLab back online. The three of us hiked to the top of Parson Island in the rain and perched precariously on a cliff edge to put gas in the generator and check on all the solar panels. After five minutes and some expert twiddling we managed to fix the internet and OrcaLab was back online! Back down at the boat preparing for departure the most amazing thing happened. A humpback whale exploded out of the water beside us and lunge fed right next to the boat! The first lunge came totally by surprise but the second one became obvious as the water came alive and seemed to be almost boiling with little fish being pushed up, followed by the open mouth of the humpback as it broke the surface! Of course none of us on board had their camera but Debs did get a picture on her cellphone!
In the afternoon we travelled with Dr. Spong to another little island across the way, Flower Island, to set up a hydrophone to replace an old one which had finally given up last year, after 30 years’ service under the waves! With the help of a GoPro and fellow researcher Jared Towers we managed to lower it down to the sea floor and position it correctly. With the hydrophone working properly and broadcasting undersea sounds to the Lab and world, we travelled back to OrcaLab for a well earned warm meal that was awaiting us. What an amazing start to what’s sure to be a fantastic summer!
by Isabelle and Debs, June 23, 2016