Tuesday 7th April
We luckily managed to fit a last haul, haul number ten, along our remaining transect. We targeted a few small schools of blue whiting which were shown on the echo sounders. Usually we wouldn’t consider targeting such small schools but given that our time was nearly up, we decided to fish. The haul contained fewer blue whiting than past hauls but this wasn’t a big surprise due to the echograms. We also landed a few mesopelagic specimens in the haul.
From the last waypoint of our final transect we headed straight for Scheveningen harbor at around 18:00 Tuesday night. Flat seas allowed fast progress on our journey home (averaging around 12 to 14 knots) which meant we arrived at Scheveningen about 12 hours earlier than expected: 17:30 Thursday evening. The conditions on the way back would have been perfect for some marine mammal observation, or just to enjoy the view, however this was made impossible due to a thick fog that remained with us most of the time. Instead we finished processing and recording remaining data, and reading the last of the blue whiting otoliths.
|Into the fog.|
|Eric keeping us on the straight and narrow with one of his legendary lectures.|
In summary we did 9 blue whiting hauls in total landing around 10 – 15 tonnes of blue whiting; one deep sea haul observing around 50 different species; 30 CTD stations; covered 2200 nautical miles; with a bonus wet and windy weekend on the Isle of Lewis!
|Land in sight.|
|Arriving at Scheveningen|
Until next year!