Summer break may be finished, but Ocean Camp memories gust thicker than my Oklahoma accent. As I plug away behind my computer reconciling administrative tasks and reacquainting myself with current events, I can easily become discouraged with the empty nest syndrome of a quieter classroom and the multitude of unjust issues impacting our precious marine life. Yet every climb down the stairs in our office confronts me with the reason why I do what I do. Tacked on an otherwise barren, white wall is a sign that speaks volumes above the noisy staircase it decorates. The artistically rendered petition reads, “Save Lolita” referring to a captive orca. This project is a representation of the many efforts that result from our educational program Ocean Camp.
We just finished a wonderful milestone – the first time that the research department completed systematic transect surveys on our research vessel Ocean Protector throughout the entire whale season (December – April). We were hampered by some windy weather in April but overall it was a successful season. January and February had the most whale sightings, as usual, although we did see whales regularly throughout all of the season.
Some of the highlights of this whale season were:
- 55 survey days and 455 hours in the field, covering 3218 nautical miles.
- 293 sightings of humpback whales.
- 12 sightings of bottlenose dolphins.
- 11 sightings of spotted dolphins.
- 5 sightings of spinner dolphins.
- 3 encounters with false killer whales.
- 1 encounter with short-finned pilot whales.
Thank you to our wonderful interns and volunteers, as well as our members and supporters whose donations continue to fund our research efforts.