‘Thar she blows’.
Day three of the survey is another long and difficult one. The air temperature has fallen, everyone’s breath is visible in the air before the wind whisks it away and the valiant observers are huddled at their various posts. Despite warnings of fog, it stays outside of the survey area today (although it lurks along one horizon) and we have a deep gloomy cloud cover and grey seas to look at.
Once again the Gemini Explorer with Davy at the helm traverses the survey lines. As we go further from shore, the sea roughens a little and the Gemini is rolling; but not enough to spoil the survey.
Along the way, four porpoises in a row are spotted off the Port bow. They are travelling fast; intent on doing something that we will never understand.
However, for much of today’s survey there seems to be little life around under the sullen skies. This changes when the data logger (briefly warm and snug in the main cabin) receives a call reporting the sighting of a minke whale. There is a thunder of feet as team members on break launch themselves out onto the deck (some even forgetting their wooly hats) to try to see the animal. But alas the sighting is only fleeting and the whale is not seen again.
The last part of the survey takes the team along parallel to the southern shore of the Moray Firth and towards our
As we parallel the coast still several miles off of the pretty town of
Later in the day, back on land, we find survey leader, Pine, and the Science Director sitting for a prolonged period in the dark and drizzle in a car in the car park of the local Lidl’s supermarket. They are studying a lap-top computer and they are doing it here because they cannot link to the internet closer to the dock where the Gemini now rests. Three weather websites suggest the wind and waves will pick up before midday tomorrow. (Deciding whether or not to survey on any particular day is a very difficult call, especially when worse weather can be seen coming in over the weekend. However we try to only set off on days when the weather is good enough for the survey because it saves fuel and money and also means that we will not be unnecessarily tiring the team) It is decided not call off the survey for the next day.Pine