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Far East Russia Orca Project expedition 2001

The season 2001 has appeared to be even more successful. The operation of the land observers and boat crew was completely coordinated. Besides this we have planned our work so that everyone was able to train in different aspects of cetacean observations. As a whole, the day went approximately under the uniform schedule: two observers armed with a radio and various optical gadgets like binoculars, scopes and video cameras, mounted on the top of the island. Photographer, bioacoustics, experienced counter of marine mammals, driver and one of the observers loaded into the boat with all indispensable instrumentation, reserve of meal, water, films and tapes. Then the boat came close to the cape, on which observers were placed, and the hunting started.

Observers were scanning a surface of the sea from above in searching for orcas and tracked each group as long as it did not fade beyond the horizon. They also watched merging and partitioning of groups, type of activity of animals, reaction to transiting vessels. Their aim was also to direct the boat close to group, because from the surface it is possible to note orcas only in close proximity. When the boat approached to whales, the photographer tried to photograph all animals from the left side. The photography is conducted on the move, the boat skips on a wave, animal appears from the water only to a moment, and to catch it in a lens, not having fallen out from the boat, is really a hard task. Driver must correctly approach to the group and move together with animals on enough distance not to alarm orcas, to hold course and velocity so that to follow them and that did not flood by a wave expensive instrumentation and other inventory and property. At this time counter should trace all animals, define the structure of group, number of animals, describe type of their behaviour. The role of the observer was to write the numbers of films and groups, composition of groups and place of their occurring, any visual features of exterior and behaviour of animals. When the animals were photographed, the boat was stopped in order to record sounds of the group.



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01 July 2024 13:16
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