Written by Jen Miksis-Olds.
Bye Bye Florida, back to winter we come! We all enjoyed the mostly calm seas and warm weather we found off of Florida. Some of us prone to seasickness even decided that we might be able to survive out here without our seasickness meds. Unfortunately that was rather short lived. Now we are just trying to hold onto that taste of summer as we make our way rapidly back North to escape some possibly rough weather. But this is exactly why bad weather days are built in when planning an oceanographic research cruise. Though bad weather doesn’t sound good to those of us still getting our sea legs, we are just grateful that we were successful in reaching all of our deployment sites without any significant problems.
The nightcrew continues chasing scattering layers in the water column with their nets and pulling up larval fish and gelatinous dudes. The day shift continues to prowl for marine mammals and interesting CTD cast locations. Down south we’ve been enjoying riding the gulf stream, at a whopping 3.4-4 knot speeds. We also caught a glimpse of what internal waves and varying water masses look like through our CTD casts and up at the surface. And lastly we finally spotted some marine mammals just as we neared our final Florida location. Jackpot! It was a pod of long-finned pilot whales, including one adorable young of the year! We counted at least twenty on the surface, but we can expect at least that many below the surface as well. So this was a pretty exciting sighting! Not the best picture, but you’ll get the idea!