With the beautiful backdrop of the Inner Hebrides, we’ve got a day packed with science and filming.
The diving team is studying the benthos and once more bring specimen aboard. This starfish is regrowing several arms lost in an unknown event.
Water quality analysis near a salmon farm, plankton net trawls scanned for microfibers and plankton diversity, bird watching and cetacean surveys are all adding to our growing data set.
We’ve also started to compare surface water temperatures measured with a replica of the wooden bucket, such as would have been around in Charles Darwin’s times, with modern equivalent and the electronic sensors the University of Plymouth brought on board.
The biggest task today is the installation of our wind turbine, which was greatly helped by the ship’s engineer Daniel.
Once up and running, its operation and purpose was filmed in the style of an interview by Lorimer and Jasper. Watch this space!
Meanwhile, I had a bit of fun running a 12 V fan off the battery we charged with it… Captain Ben thought it hilarious.
The exhaust repair successfully completed, we’ve set sail as soon as leaving the dock and are cruising comfortably South at 5 – 6 knots, now powered by the wind.
Sustainability in practice!
We’ll pick up this theme with the installation of a wind generator aboard in the next few days.
The gentleness of the motion and tranquility of sounds of wind and waves around the ship is good for the soul and everybody’s mood is lifted.
As we are progressing from Lewis to Harris, we get busy with casual observations of cetaceans before we even start our dedicated survey: pods of porpoises, two minke whales traveling together and adult common dolphins with juveniles. Joe identified the sighting of a species new to our voyage as striped dolphins.
The slight sea state allows crew to carry out maintenance aloft.
Meanwhile, voyage crew relax in the sunshine while not task with watch duties.
From my vantage point on the bowsprit, I observe the distinct change in behaviour of a pod of six common dolphins: I first see them cross our bows in NEly direction, turn due north to meet us, then play in our bow wave, turning belly-up and showing their underside for a while, travelling south with us, before departing in SSWly direction.
Is it as much fun for them as it is for us to watch?
Even as the blue skies turn grey nature’s spectacle is awe-inspiring.
Soon we’ll be anchoring and taking more samples for analysis.
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