We continue to head south on our steam back to Killybegs. The weather has changed slightly with a low-pressure system to our south sending us some swell and winds. It is nice to feel the ship move a bit even though it is slight…it actually feels like we are at sea with the gentle roll of a swell.
Packing up…The net is ready to be offloaded.
The movement gave way to glassy seas once again in the afternoon as we passed by the Hebrides. The sun came out and glinted off the water and the distant islands making for a beautiful evening on the water. There were puffins sighted diving for needle fish around the ship.
With nightfall, the first since leaving Ireland ten days ago, the Irish rains arrived. It is pouring outside so I don’t anticipate seeing the cliffs of Slieve League and the Irish Coast in the morning, but I will enjoy this final night at sea. There is something very special and magical about darkness at sea…it is difficult to put into words, but I think that all on board are welcoming this first darkness. We will be in Killybegs around midday tomorrow.
I arose to a beautiful calm morning on the North Atlantic with the Hebrides to the east of the ship. We are moving at quite a fast clip up to our sampling area, cruising at around 14 knots. We have a southerly wind behind us adding to our speed and the calm seas are helping us along.
Because today we are steaming (transiting), the chief scientists gathered all hands to talk about the sampling plan. It seems we are going to begin sampling just below 68° N where the concentration of post-smolt salmon should be high as they funnel along the western side of the Voering Plateau. We are anticipating a high catch in this area on our way to the more northerly sampling grounds.
The rest of the day was spent exploring the ship to find good places and interesting angles to shoot photos and video of the net coming in. And of course, enjoying the sunshine! It was quite warm and very beautiful as we traveled up north, with gannets and other sea birds flying all around the ship.
We have another day steaming tomorrow and should reach our first sampling area on Friday morning. Because we are heading pretty far north, we may lose internet signal for a few days so the posts will be logged when we are back online.
We are now above 61 degrees North…The science should start soon…I am looking forward to seeing some post-smolts and whatever other species we capture in the nets!