I am a little late posting these but here are two more pieces by my interns Nathasha Chandrasekeran and Holly Wetherall.
Working for the Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project has been a truly unique experience and just within the first week, valuable lessons have been learnt. As an intern, duties in the field include scanning for marine mammals, recording data on sightings, weather and ongoing efforts. Duties at the end of the field day include cleaning equipment, transferring field notes and records to digital datasheets, organization and storage of digital pictures of sighted specimens. The responsibilities are varied and all play an important role in the efficient and smooth running of the project. I have learnt new skills such as identifying marine mammals in usually less than ideal conditions. Other lessons have been reinforced: The virtue of patience, the understanding that no data is still data, how vital communication is for team work. These are just a few and I am sure the remaining days of the internship will come with many more teachings. Every day is a reminder of the vastness, the beauty and the power of the ocean and I am eager to learn all I can from it.
I have been an intern at the Sri Lankan Blue Whale project for just over a week now. Having spent hours looking out over the ocean off southern Sri Lanka, I have learnt some important lessons about life in the field.
One of the key lessons learnt so far is to expect the unexpected!
Today was our 9th day out on the water, what stared as a bit of a deflating morning turned out to be one of our most successful days yet. As we set off the sky was overcast and the swell quite choppy, so our chances of making any sightings were limited. Having carried out a transect line and a few hours of searching, we started to head back to land feeling a little disappointed. However, as we approached the coastline we sighted a mother and calf pair of Bryde’s whales, and to our delight they were also feeding! We managed to get some fantastic photos for identification, collect essential weather and location data and even collect samples of tiny shrimp-like creatures that they may have been feeding on!
This is just one of the amazing sightings that really show how anything can happen out in the ocean. It also shows how important it is to be prepared for absolutely anything; whether it’s having your recording equipment at the ready, your data sheets open or simply keeping our eyes focused on the ocean constantly ready for our next sighting!