Log: 2008 NIOZ Cold Water Coral Fish Survey

15th Jul 2008 Survey Ended: 2008 NIOZ Cold Water Coral Fish Survey

Area: Porcupine Seabight & Hatton Bank

Agency: Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

Ship: R.V. Pelagia

Observer: Dave Wall

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15 July 2008

Windy weather this morning led to another day in the office. At trips end reports are finished, photos shared round and packing begins. We docked at the NIOZ harbour in Texel, marking the end of the 2008 Cold Water Coral Fish Survey.

14 July 2008

This morning we were in the northern North Sea. During the night we had passed the entrance to the Moray Firth and were just south of it when survey began. Appropriately the first sighting of the day was of a distant bottlenose dolphin which breached continuously as we passed by. This part of the North Sea is a stronghold of the white-beaked

dolphin and appropriately we had five sightings of this species throughout the day (16 individuals), including a pair which gave a great display of bow riding for assembled scientists and crew. The

afternoon interest was two sightings of minke whales close to the ship. A grey seal also popped up for a gander at the passing ship.

Tomorrow is our last day at sea and all things going well we should dock at Texel at high tide, around 6pm.. still some time then to survey the southern North Sea.

13 July 2008

Daylight found us passing along the north coast of Scotland and as the day went on we passed between the Isles of Shetland and Orkney. A

myriad of seabirds passed by throughout the day but sea state 4-5, little cetacean action. By days end only one sighting of a single porpoise had been logged.

12 July 2008

Woke to flat calm seas and the sea state stayed 2-3 all day. Unfortunately it was also very cold and overcast but hey, you can't have everything (though something resembling summer would be nice). A long day of survey ensued as the ship steamed on towards home. We were traversing to the north of the Rockall Bank and Trough. As we

crossed a small bank to the north of Rockall we encountered four groups of pilot whales (67 animals) and a distant group of dolphins

(c30 animals) which were too far off to be identified.

Juvenile pilot whale breaching, Hatton Bank © Dave Wall/IWDG/GMITThe afternoon produced a distant sighting of two beaked whales surfacing about 6 times. An hour later a single Atlantic white-sided dolphin breached clear of the water several times before disappearing and half an hour later a distant sperm whale logged at the surface before fluking and diving. The final sighting of the evening was of a

group of 12 pilot whales which approached the ship before passing astern. A productive day all round only marred by a long watch after tea which produced no sightings even though we crossed the Rosemary Bank during that time. Tomorrow we should be off the north coast of

Scotland.

11 July 2008

Spent most of the day stationary whilst the ship did a CTD survey. In the afternoon we retrieved the DeepPOD and it appears that the whales had left a few goodbye clicks for the record. The weather calmed in the evening as we began steaming for Texel but no sightings were recorded.

10 July 2008

Again attempted survey in sea state 4, increasing to 5. By teatime the sea state had whipped back up to 6. POD was re-deployed for its last short soak on this trip. Tomorrow night we leave Hatton Bank and

begin our long 6 day journey back to Texel in Holland, via the north coast of Scotland.

09 July 2008

Poor weather stopped any cetacean survey. POD was retrieved but no clicks detected.

08 July 2008

Attempted a survey in sea state 5 b