The Antarctic blue whale voyage, aboard the FV Explorer, is heading south-west from New Zealand, on transit to our research area. We selected the region along the ice edge from 135-175° East, which lies roughly south of Tasmania. This area is thought to have relatively high densities of Antarctic blue whales based on historical catches, sighting surveys by the International Whale Commission and acoustics data. To cover all bases, we have even considered a ceremony to invoke the assistance of King Neptune in our quest to find the elusive Antarctic Blue Whales!
At present, we are battling through confused seas with winds up to 40 knots. The transit will take at least four more bouncy days. In the meantime, we watch for whales and deploy sonobuoys to listen for any passing leviathans. Yesterday we tested an antenna kite, which we hope will increase the reception range for our sonobuoys. We also screened a documentary from the 2010 whale voyage on RV Tangaroa. Many of our non-lethal methods for whale research were developed during that expedition.