SnotBot Expedition 12: Thar She Blows!

Dear Friends,

We had a fantastic day on the water today. But after eleven and a half hours in a small boat, processing data, changing batteries, cleaning all of our equipment and celebrating Chris’s birthday, I only have the energy left for a short blog.

Luckily this blog is going to be saved by more stunning photos from Christian Miller and an unusual photo taken with our 360 degree camera. We are using this camera to try to get a better view of the snot flow over our petri dishes and the drone.

If you look up Loreto Baja Sur in Wikipedia it says desert with some rainfall in the summer.  A feature of deserts is that they are often cold or cool at night and blistering hot during the day. Before sun up we were out of our hotel and by 7:00 am we were on the boat racing across the calm water as the sun rose over the horizon, and I was bloody freezing, even with a puffy Patagonia top on! By midday I was down to a T shirt and shorts and melting. Five and a half hours later as the sun set over my battered body I was freezing again. Who would of thought packing for a whale research expedition would mean so many clothing changes!

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We saw at least half a dozen blue whales today but they seemed to be playing a version of whack a mole, surfacing and diving with complete abandon, appearing in front of us then behind, then close then far. I am happy just have whales in the area but these whales made us work for our science. We collected six snot samples, remember six snot samples is actually six petri dishes per sample, so technically we collected 36 petri dishes of blue whale Snot today.

We also collected half a dozen photogrammetry images and some bizarre 360 video and images (one attached). As part of our educational outreach we also shot a bunch of Instagram style blogs for the BackPack Journalists, they sent us some tough questions, but it was fun to answer these questions about whales, wildlife and drones while at sea.

We are back on the water tomorrow before sunrise and I’d like to stay out til sunset in the hope that we can see some great krill feeding (whales eating krill) as the daylight diminishes and the krill come up to the surface from the security of the deep. If it happens you will be the first to know!

I hope that you enjoy the photos and this brief narrative.

 

Onwards Upwards!

 

Iain

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