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Journals 2004/2005

Katie Roberts
Hingham Middle School, Hingham, Massachusetts

"Structure of Populations, Levels
of Abundance,and Status of
Humpback whales (SPLASH)"

NOAA Ship McArthur II
June 27-July 26, 2004
Journal Index:
June Intro - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30

July 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10

      11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18

      19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25

July 14, 2004

Photo: Protected Resouces Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, California.

The color of the day is BLUE, as in blue whale, as in first blue whale to be seen on a marine mammal survey cruise in these waters since the 1960's! Upon first view, the tall columnar blows on the distant horizon, led us to tentatively identify this whale as a fin whale. As we approached, our mystery whale skimmed along the surface, showing just a teaser of its length. Then in one long roll, the back seemed to go on forever, as the full length of mottled grey ended with a disproportionately small dorsal fin at the end of this gargantuan creature, the largest in the world.

Todd Chandler of Cascadia, has been studying blue whales off the coast of California and Washington, and was interested in biopsying and identifying the individual to compare against the previous catalogues. The blue whales rarely fluke and when they do it is not a particularly helpful identifier as the fluke is nearly all white. Therefore, the blues are identified by their mottling pattern near their dorsal fin. The current photos will be sent via our Inmarstat communication system to researchers at Cascadia for matching and we look forward to hearing the results of any potential "matches."

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