July 2nd Dispatch from Keith on Marine Mammal Observation Cruise – 55 miles off Cape Lookout, NC

Written by Keith_Rittmaster. Posted in Uncategorized

Keith continues on the NOAA Marine Mammal Observation cruise.
On July 2nd they were at the tip of the red arrow.The nearest point of land was Cape Lookout where on board they were seeing/hearing lots of sperm whales!!!  The latest group was 3 calves at the surface – presumably the moms were below foraging.  The calves were silent but the others that were deep could be heard – “knock..knock..knock” like a distant carpenter.  The acoustics folks who monitor 6 towed hydrophones 24/7 said not only can they hear sperm whales click, but they can tell when the whales capture and swallow a squid.  Wow.  
On June 30th, Keith reported that it was rough and stormy the night before,   so that morning, they moved to an inside track where the weather was better.   There they saw bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, and 3 loggerhead sea turtles (they didn’t see any turtles further offshore). There were lots of Wilson’s storm petrels too.  
And finally, to the really important info., Keith says:
    “The food on board is nothing short of incredible.  Chicken cordon bleu last night, roast duck breasts tonight, with homemade sweet potato pie – “Mississippi sweet potatoes, not those inferior NC sweet potatoes” exclaimed our very talented, educated, and upbeat chef Margaret who wears tie dyes and listens to the Grateful Dead.  Delicious guacamole, hummus with warm pita bread, fresh squeezed limeade” are often available too. 
Maybe he’ll bring us all a doggie bag.

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