Today’s plan was to spend most of it out at sea looking for beaked whales. However, the waves were slightly too high. What do I mean by that? Even though the water was what I would consider calm, the minute wave action was just enough to hide any beaked whales at the surface. Dr. Claridge had said that the best time to see these creatures, would be during an extreme calm. Unlike dolphins that come up, break the surface and then go back down; whales surface and float for a few moments, blending into the water’s surface. Because they blend so well, this is why we wait for an extreme calm day.
So instead, today turned into another office day. I learned how to operate the acoustic computer. At this station, my duty was to listen to 2 minute clips and identify any sounds that related to dolphins. This included whistles, chirps, or clicks. At first, it was difficult to distinguish them from the sea noise. After a few clips and examples, it became easier to do. When I heard a dolphin sound, I would make note of which audio clip and the time frame it was at. Eventually, I was able to tune most of the shrimp clicks, ocean waves, and grinding sounds out and focus on the dolphins.
Researchers who study sounds made from sea creatures would typically have a recorder planted on the seabed where their organisms frequents. The recorder would have a timer to record for a set period. For example, record for 3 minutes every 20 minutes. The instrument would then be retrieved after a certain amount of days, data downloaded, and then listened to.
My favorite part out of all the activities we do is dinner. Not just because I like food (for those who know me, you understand my passion for food) but because we sit together like a family and enjoy many conversations. From sports to ‘scienc’-y stuff to personal funnies…and everyone talks to enjoy each others company.
No one gets offended and tries to defend or state that their opinion is correct. All of us, thus far, are open minded to what other people say. It’s not like one person is talking for the whole time, we all get a turn, we all participate, we all laugh and we all help clean up.
That’s how strangers can become a family.