In good weather, you’ll start your day aboard a whale-watch boat or a ferry, spending three to five hours learning to observe and identify whale species while recording environmental data. You won't always see cetaceans during these observation periods, but you'll still be gathering valuable data either way: recording a lack of sightings is as imporant as recording sightings. When the team does spot a whale, team members will observe its behavior and use a laser pointer to determine the distance to the whale from the boat. By observing how the animal behaves, you’ll be gathering information on whether or not whales are disturbed by the proximity of whale watchers. You’ll also listen to sperm whale clicks, help to record whale sounds, and record environmental data.
You may also spend time at the top of the Andenes Lighthouse. You’ll watch the fjord located next to Andenes, and have a bird’s-eye view of the deep-water canyon where sperm whales abound. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to observe the whales both when whale-watch boats are present and when they’re not, so you can record any changes in behavior. You’ll also learn how to calculate the positions of the whales and track environmental conditions.
On days when the weather is bad or in the afternoons, your team will work indoors to download the data, review recordings, and learn about whale acoustics. You’ll also match your whale photos to a large database of individual whales, helping to determine counts of individual whales that have visited the canyon, size estimates of the local population of each species, where individual whales have come from, and what types of residency patterns are most common.
Note: Field conditions and research needs can lead to changes in the itinerary and activities. Because of this project's location deep in the polar circle, high winds and other weather conditions often disrupt outdoor field work. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.