Closing Up Shop

Well Rapunzel Project Followers…. the field season is officially over.  The lighthouse has been zipped up and put to bed for the winter.  The research gear has been meticulously cleaned and set to rest.  Even Noble Stead, our faithful hydrophone zodiac has been deflated, de-barnacled, and gingerly wrapped for hibernation.
It was a glorious season, though not without its many challenges.  We battle wind and wave, we danced for water, whales, and sun.  We listened until our ears rang and our heads hurt, and we scanned the horizon for blows like true professionals.

I was unsure of at the end of the summer I would be able to successfully say that we accomplished what we set out to.  When starting a three month field season down the throat the potential for disaster looms thick.  Hindsight is blissful.  While I don’t know if our data will tell us anything, I do know that we heard things, saw things, and created relationships.  For that I can assure you every minute we spent on our 3 1/2 acre island was worth the effort.

Stay tuned for an updated meet the researchers page that will tell you more about the 12 interns who joined us, as well as an end of season report which will tell you exactly how many surveys we completed (upwards of 400), how many hours of hydrophone recordings we ended up with (it was 90 hours a few months ago), and just what we hope to do next (Rapunzel Project 2013- Focal Follows).  I’ll go through some of the 4,000 pictures that were taken and get some of those posted as well.

For now, I’m back to headphones (smelling of saltwater) and putting whales on maps, my head held high and my heart heavy with love.

Advertisements

About Michelle Fournet

Michelle Fournet is a Wildlife Science PhD student with the Oregon State University Research Collective for Applies Acoustics (ORCAA) and a research contributor with the Alaska Whale Foundation, where she formerly headed the Rapunzel Project. She can be contacted at michelle.fournet@gmail.com.
This entry was posted in Field Work, Whale Research. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Closing Up Shop

  1. Roy Neyman says:

    Session 3 is feeling neglected.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s