If you read my last post, I left off on the dock in Newport, RI waiting for a storm to clear. As expected, the thunderstorms (and lightning) passed us by and we cast off our lines the next day.

Blue skies heading under the Newport bridge.
Blue skies heading under the Newport bridge.

But to our disappointment (but not lack of trying), we didn’t find many turtles during our first couple of days on the water.

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Here is the scene from the lower observation deck.
On the big eyes! I helped out the visual team during the day when we could not tow the hydrophone array.
On the big eyes! I helped out the visual team during the day when we could not tow the hydrophone array. (Photo credit: Annamaria Izzi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But after heading north to Canadian waters our luck changed and the turtle rodeo began!

As soon as we spotted a turtle, we deployed the small boat and sent a team to bring it back to the Bigelow to be outfitted with a satellite tag.

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We had to travel pretty far off-shore to find the turtles!
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The fast rescue boat heading back to the Bigelow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We transferred the turtles onboard very delicately in a special turtle “hammock” so that the sampling crew could get to work taking vitals and adhering the satellite tag.

Transferring a turtle to the Bigelow.
Transferring a turtle to the Bigelow. (Permit: NOAA-NEFSC-Fisheries & Oceans Canada – DFO Research Notice: M-15-07)
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Once the adhesive was dry we used the turtle hammock to release the animal back into the ocean. (Permit: NOAA-NEFSC-Fisheries & Oceans Canada – DFO Research Notice: M-15-07)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Then we were back to our lookout posts to spot the next turtle. (Photo credit: Loren Kellog)

Despite a few setbacks (there are always a few), our turtle mission was a success! At night and on bad weather days we were even able to sneak in some acoustics. In the photo below we are getting ready to deploy a HARP.

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(Photo credit: Elizabeth Broughton)

I am back in Oregon now and my summer fieldwork days are over. I am trying to motivate myself to find as much fun in writing and analysis as I did in gluing my face to binoculars in hopes of spotting the next elusive loggerhead, hearing pilot whale harmonics on the array, and enjoying the glorious show that is a sunset at sea.

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