Whales and sea otters galore

We’re on our way back to Seward with an ETA of 0800 tomorrow.  The ship is taking the scenic route via Shelikof Strait, which runs between Kodiak Island to the east and mainland Alaska to the west. Yesterday the crew had training drills planned so the ship pulled into the calm waters of Katmai Bay, and once again we got super lucky with the clouds parting as we neared the shore, giving us sunny skies and spectacular views of Katmai National Park.  We saw several whales, lots of sea otters and a few volcanoes.  After a month of working 24/7 on the ship for the EM survey, it was nice to have a day off while we steam back to port. In addition to enjoying the scenery, in the afternoon we had a round of 6 science talks in the ship’s lounge, including: analysis of melt inclusions from the western Aleutians (Janine Andrys), electromagnetic mapping of submarine groundwater off Hawaii (Eric Attias), EM exploration of the Middle America Trench (Samer Naif), EM mapping of seafloor gas hydrates  (Steve Constable), active seismic imaging of subduction zones (Tanner Acquisto) and aquifer systems extending far offshore on the US Atlantic margin  (me – Kerry).  I’m looking forward to another five science talks today, as its nice to get to learn more about what everyone is researching, including the students from other universities who’ve volunteered for our cruise, especially since we’ve spent a month together plugging in electrodes, cabling instruments, throwing grapnels, driving deep tow winches and going through lots of scotch  3M electrical tape, cable ties and all the things required to get new seafloor EM data at a subduction zone. Now we get to spend time learning about everyone’s research and ongoing projects.   Photos from Katmai bay below.

A little steam plume rising from Mount Martin volcano, as viewed from the RV Sikuliaq while in Katmai Bay

One of many sea otters we saw in Katmai Bay
Eric stoked on the good weather and scenic views.