Today was the first day using the remotely operated vehicle ROV aboard the Ranger. On the way out to the research sight, most of the crew members were sitting in the kitchen area. Ricardo stuck his head in the door and yelled “pilot whales.”
I shot out to the deck; I don’t remember the last time I moved that quickly. I saw approximately 12 pilot whales from the front of the deck, which were most likely long finned pilot whales. I had never seen a pilot whale before so this made quite an impression on me.
Once at the study sight, we launched the ROV successfully. We were all able to see what the ROV was recording because the video was being projected in real time to a flat screen TV and computer monitors on board the Ranger. My favorite part was when we found a large octopushiding in some rocky bottom habitat. The images from the ROV were fabulous and the experiment was a total success.
I am sad to say that this will be my last journal entry. I will leave the Ranger tomorrow morning at 5 a.m. to return to Madrid. I will spend one day at the Oceana office in Madrid and then I will return to the U.S. My time aboard the Ranger has been a truly fabulous experience. The work Oceana is doing in the Mediterranean is vital for the understanding and protection of this ocean and I am honored to have been a part of it. I would like to sincerely thank the crew of the Ranger for making me feel so welcomed and for sharing this opportunity with me.