Wildlife Sightings

While we’ve been at sea, we haven’t spotted too many organisms other than those that can be seen using a microscope.  However, in the past few days we’ve sighted several new species!  On Sunday the crew set up three lured fishing lines off the stern.  These lines don’t require constant attention, only occasional checks to see if they’ve hooked anything.  One of these lines caught a beautiful yellowfin tuna!  Although I’m not usually a big fan of raw fish, I decided to try this fish at dinner, and I was glad I did.  It melted in my mouth…nothing like fresh sushi!

Earlier that day I had been talking with Matt, our res tech, and Melissa, a marine chemist from Scripps, and I told them if at any point during the cruise they saw any interesting wildlife (other than the birds that are pretty much constantly following in our wake, storm petrels and albatrosses), to let me know, even if I was sleeping.  Monday morning I went to bed at 0230 and then was startled to hear Melissa at my doorway three hours later shouting, “ANNIE! ANNIE!”  At first I thought there must be some emergency.  But then she added, “ANNIE! THERE’S A SEA TURTLE!”  I grabbed my crocs and my camera and made it up on deck just as the turtle disappeared.  I thought for sure I had missed it but then a few minutes later, another turtle, apparently a little smaller than the first, showed up next to the trace metal cast!  It was definitely worth waking up for.  The only photographic evidence of this turtle comes from Laura’s camera (I took a picture just as the sea turtle dove and therefore it is completely black and not worth sharing).

Laura told me that earlier that morning she and Maureen, a research technician at WHOI, had been fishing with the crew for squid and they caught two with a fishing rod.  Laura was also nice enough to share a picture of the squid with me.  The cooks were going to make the squid into something delicious if enough of them were caught, but since their efforts only yielded two, the squid will serve as bait in future fishing endeavors.  After seeing the turtle, I noticed many squids swimming around just beneath the water’s surface, attracted to the Melville by her bright lights.  Now we’re on our way down towards 60 degrees South, and I’m eager to see more wildlife!  Barney says that near South Georgia there may be some penguins waiting for us.


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