Thursday, 4 September 2014

Tag Count 5

We're down to 5 tags remaining! Our patience and persistence has paid off. After a day on-land watching for whales from shore due to extreme seas, we were back on the water again yesterday. Despite being restricted to the western side of the island due to strong easterly winds continuing to stir things up, we were able to deploy three tags. Unfortunately the first tag got deflected by a white cap just as it contacted the whale and did not deploy.  That tag is now at the bottom of the sea in 46m of water, and we followed the whale for over an hour to see if its behavior changed (it didn't).

Natalie, Alex and Federico look for whales along the west coast of Rarotonga on Tuesday Sept. 2, 2014. The lagoon (inside the reef) is calm, but the seas beyond were too choppy to tag.

The other two deployments yesterday were as close to perfect as you can ask for!  Nan did an exceptional job captaining the boat and Federico placed the tags with extreme accuracy. Alex just passed on that one of these whales has already moved off-shore and is headed towards Samoa! The second whale we tagged yesterday continues to swim around Rarotonga - and based on what we saw yesterday, this one likes to swim on its back!