Here is a day in the life of a Scientist onboard TS Pelican of London, written by Rachel Georgiou, during the Darwin200 2021 voyage.
“Today began with a morning beach survey in the Isles of Scilly, the science team set off on the RIB to Tresco island to conduct plastic surveys on the sheltered sandy beaches to the south. We found a lot of smaller plastic fragments, most likely due to the sheltered nature of the beach, and the frequency of beach cleaning on such a popular island. These fragments are hard to see from a distance, but are everywhere.
We departed the Isles of Scilly just after midday, en route to Lundy Island. Once the Pelican was underway, we began a three hour dedicated survey for cetaceans and large fish as this region is a prime spot for megafauna. Just a few minutes into the survey we spotted four sunfish to the south of St. Mary’s Island! Sunfish are beautiful warmer water fish, it was very interesting to see an aggregation of this species. When the watch was done, it’s time for data entry and dinner.
As the sun sank lower in the sky we began another cetacean watch at 8pm, as low light conditions are best for capturing their movements. I came up on deck with binoculars and cameras at the ready, with sunset not far away. We waited two hours before we saw something, a common dolphin jumped from the waves to the starboard side. The sky was darkening now, but was just bright enough to identify the dolphin by species. Then another two appeared, and then more! It was a pod of dolphins with calves riding the waves of the ship. They were counted and recorded as the sky grew darker, until we could only see their silhouettes against the dimming ocean, and then they were gone. The night had come, and thousands of stars emerged, bright in these dark skies.”
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