JC36: Geology & biology of the Whittard Canyon


 JC36



Cruise diary

24 July 2009
Location: Whittard Canyon, 48º 16' N / 10º 09' W

Natalia writes:

Yesterday morning, the early-shift scientists were working in the main lab, after another mud-sieving session, when Leon – one of the ship’s technicians, shouted ‘WHALE!’

It took us a while to spot the whale among the dark and choppy waves, but eventually we did and watched it swim alongside (and overtake) the boat. When the whale reached the front deck, Doug and Leighton identified it as a sperm whale.  We also noticed that it was being kept company by a leatherback turtle.

Nathan tells me that leatherbacks are the only turtles found this far north in the Atlantic (unless they’ve accidentally swum off-course).

Sperm whales are REALLY big, and much, much longer than the Pilot whales we saw earlier in the cruise. It’s unusual for them to come so close to boats too. The have very blunt heads, and ridges along the base of their tail fins.

AWESOME!!

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