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The Open Ocean

Posted by: roy-lagemann | June 2, 2009 | No Comment |

Some of our more extensive transects aboard the R/V Shearwater were over very deep water. While on these transects, we saw a number of different animals who specialize in life in the open ocean. Among the mammals we saw were Common dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, and a small group of Fin whales. Risso’s dolphins are identified by the large white scars that cover their bodies as a result of violent contact with other individuals in their pod. A much less majestic mammal sighting was the dead harbor seal we saw being picked at by a pair of Northern fulmars.

A couple of Norther Fulmars swimming around a dead Harbor seal

We spotted a couple of interesting fish as well, including a handful of lone Blue sharks swimming slowly at the surface. They were easily identifiable by their long slender bodies, long pectoral fins, and vibrant blue coloration. Blue sharks have been known to grow to almost four meters in length, but the ones we saw were probably closer to two meters long (still a big shark!). A single, unexpected tuna was also seen leaping and flipping out of the water about 100 meters from the R/V Shearwater.

A blue shark swims lazily off the stern of the R/V Searwater

A blue shark swims lazily off the stern of the R/V Shearwater

Though we were primarily focused on observing birds during these transects through the open sea, we kept out eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary.


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