2013 May 23 & 24, Thursday & Friday
Gulf of Mexico
As summer arrives and warm weather returns to the Gulf of Mexico, there are plenty of people yearning to know whether some very special marine life will be returning, too! The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries and scientist Jennifer McKinney are among them, and over the past three years they've learned that getting "a look from above" is a very efficient way to augment the occasional serendipitous sightings by fishermen and oil workers. They have used On Wings Of Care's well-developed skills and network of spotters on many occasions to help them keep whale sharks in sight long enough to have swimmers from dive boats fit them with GPS tags. This year they decided to augment the information from tagged whale sharks with some systematic surveys of areas that have historically had the largest number of whale-shark sightings. We began the first two such surveys this past week, flying an 1800-sq-nm grid over the Ewing Bank area on one day, followed by a similar-sized grid in an area south of Sackett Bank the next day. Each of these grids took us out over the Gulf about 160 nm south of New Orleans, well into the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Enjoy the article and the photos, and get all the details here!