Thursday 24 July 2008

It seems that it's whale season in Namibia! Although we expected to see the odd southern right whale and a few humpbacks passing by on their way north, we've been surprised by the number of animals in the bay. Of course, getting reports from the tour boat skippers makes it much more obvious. Yesterday there were 3 or 4 right whales in the bay, today at least one other, and there have been humpbacks most days in the last two weeks.
The weather has been good and the dolphins are still around. Although the Heaviside's seem to be less active and harder to get to around the full moon, we've kept the data collection ticking over. Today, we eventually managed to get the C-POD (the new proto-type version of the moored hydrophone we have at the Point) into the water and hopefully working this time! New technology is always a challenge, but hopefully it gives us a few good days of data. We had bottlenose and Heaviside's swimming right past it this morning just a few hours after we put it in the water, so that gives us some great visual verification of the data it's collecting.

And lastly - we noticed that the guano platform was getting scraped clean when we passed it the other day. This platform was built in the early 19th century for birds to roost on i the hope that they would generate large amounts of guano in an easy to access location that was safe from predators. There are a few of these platforms scattered along the Namibian coastline, but only the one here in Walvis Bay (you can see it on Google-earth on the north east side of the bay very close to shore if you look). They scrape the guano off and then send it across to shore on a wire pulley system. Quite a job!

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