23 July 2016 – Spanish ship survey enters final phase

By Begoña Santos and Julio Valeiras, Cruise co-ordinators

Since the last update on 15 July, the IEO research vessel Ángeles Alvariño has had its mid-cruise stop, finished the remaining transect lines in the NW block 12, and is progressing well in the southern Bay of Biscay block 11.

IEO research vessel Ángeles Alvariño (Julio Valeiras)

IEO research vessel Ángeles Alvariño (Photo: Julio Valeiras)

To date, a total of 1747.8 nm of transect line has been searched on effort, more than 95% of it with both Tracker and Primary observation teams operating.

Searching from the Tracker observation platform (Julio Valeiras)

Searching from the Tracker observation platform (Photo: Julio Valeiras)

Data collection in progress (Julio Valeiras)

Data collection in progress (Photo: Julio Valeiras)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second part of the survey departed Vigo on 16 July.  On 17 July  the first transects in block 11 were surveyed because there were still strong winds in block 12. We then managed to finish the last four transect lines in block 12 over the next two days, despite several miles of fog along two of the transects.

Now in block 11, the survey is progressing well with mostly good weather in the Cantabrian Sea. On Sunday 24 July we will finish the first set of transects in this block and then attempt to complete the second set before the end of the cruise.

Towing the hydrophone off the stern of the ship (Photo: Julio Valeiras)

Towing the hydrophone off the stern of the ship (Photo: Julio Valeiras)

So far we have made a total of 721 sightings of cetaceans!  These include 8 Cuvier’s beaked whales, 499 fin whales, 21 long-finned pilot whales, 11 sperm whales; and 52 striped dolphins, 26 common dolphins, 64 common/striped dolphins, 8 bottlenose dolphins, and 27 unidentified to species.

The long back of a fin whale (Photo: Julio Valeiras)

The long back of a fin whale (Photo: Julio Valeiras)