JC36: Geology & biology of the Whittard Canyon


Cruise diary

25 June 2009
Location: NE Atlantic, 47° 56’ N 10° 46’ W

Natalie writes:

On Thursday, I was sat watching ISIS fly along a particularly creature-dense area of the Whittard Canyon, when Jess burst in, to tell us that there was a huge group of Pilot whales splashing around to the aft (back) of the ship. Someone kindly volunteered to take the reins of the noting down what ISIS was doing, so we could escape to go and see.

It was awesome, the whales (which are really more like dolphins) were popping their heads above the water, diving in and showing off their tails, rolling, and generally, just looked like they were having a good time! It started raining while we were watching, but I didn’t want to move.  I’ve never seen a pilot whale before (although they’re a reasonably common sight). There was a calf amongst them – there’s no other word for it – cute!  And a couple of times we heard them whistling, which I was surprised by, I genuinely felt so lucky to see all this, as I’d heard pilot whales don’t generally show off.

Every day seems to be bringing new and interesting events on JC36 and with there being such a variety of science going on, there’s always something to be curious about – the trip is proving to be a real learning curve for me!

Pilot Whale dorsal fins

Pilot Whale watching us

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