SOCAL-BRS is progressing well in some ways, despite the extremely limited distribution of large baleen whales in some of our typical coastal areas. As you may have read, the strong El Nino conditions that are setting up off California have resulted in some very warm water temperatures. As a result, we are seeing a lot more large whales spread out and much further offshore in deeper water and typically in some deeper diving modes where they can be a little harder to approach and tag. We have been in some of the offshore waters and have had some success in tagging and conducting three experimental sequences so far in the first five days of this field phase. We have tagged several fin whales and blue whales (including the one below) and a single Risso’s dolphin (though just briefly on the later).
We have been searching all day and night for one wayward tag with some important data on it (if you are off Oceanside fishing and you see something gold floating in the water…). We have also included some longer term TDR kinds of sensors that let us track animals for longer periods but with less resolution and we are using these in concert with the high resolution shorter term tags. The weather forecast for some of the further offshore areas doesn’t look great for the next few days but we will get back out there and hope to have some workable periods. We will report some additional results and post some additional photos in the next few days