Monday, September 8, 2014

First Blog of Great Weekend - Exhibition 2014 White Sharks and Whales

This past weekend was very busy.  I went on two eight hour pelagic trips, photograph the lightning storm and celebrated my birthday.  The first pelagic trip was Exhibition 2014 White Sharks and Whales, which was sponsored by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Atlantic White Shark Conservatory.  We traveled on the Whale Watcher out of Barnstable Harbor, passing by Sandy Neck Lighthouse at the entrance to the harbor.  Sandy Neck Lighthouse is a private lighthouse.

Sandy Neck Lighthouse
The plan for this trip was to get down to Chatham, where the white sharks hang out.  So, once we were out into Cape Cod Bay, the captain put the pedal to the metal and we traveled back at 30 kn up to Provincetown and Races Point, and then turned down to Chatham.  We did have bird sightings, but we did not stop to really observe birds.  Once we were offshore of Chatham, we spent some time locating humpback whales and observing them.

Humpback whale fluke with barnacles at the tips
And then we returned toward shore off of South Monomoy Island and slowly cruise back and forth over what is known as the shark hole.  Getting close to shore and observing the large number of gray seals that were on the beach.  However, we did not observe any great white sharks.  They even stopped the boat and pulled over sound transducers to pick up signals of the markers that have been implanted on the dorsal fin of the great white sharks, but sadly no signals were found.

Grey seals on the beach at South Monomoy
White shark receiving buoy
All in all, it still was an interesting day, we had everything from sun to dense fog, wind and 5 foot waves.  One time it was so windy that I lost my hat overboard.  All in all, it was a great trip, they fed us breakfast and lunch and everybody got a T-shirt.  The organizations are planning to make this a yearly event, and hopefully next year we will get sightings of the great white shark.

Fog bank
We were able to have sightings of all four of the shearwarter species that are present in our waters.  I was able to finally get photographs of the Cory's Shearwater and the Manx Shearwater.

Cory's Shearwater
Great Shearwater
Manx Shearwater
Manx Shearwater

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