Short days; Science Crew Enjoys Prime Rib Dinner
We are sitting at the dock in Kodiak having our brief mid-cruise stopover. This time around it’s just a few groceries and some bolts, so it’s a quick stop. We just spent a productive 3 days down in Kiliuda Bay, doing our usual combination of seining, acoustics, and oceanography. There are definitely fewer fish around this time of year, sometimes to a surprising degree. In the inner part of Kiliuda we got a good haul of the “usual suspects”- saffron cod of various ages, age-zero Pacific cod, greenlings, etc. but in the outer parts of the bay our seine nets came up almost empty. We did catch a number of glass-clear fish larvae, which we are bringing back to the lab for identification. There also didn’t seem to be as many fish in the deeper areas sampled by our acoustics. The water is definitely getting colder. It was quite a relief to get a good haul of little Pacific cod- as I told my skiff mate Matt as we hauled in the catch, with this one haul we can now consider the cruise a success, no matter what else happens. A bit of exaggeration perhaps, but I say that because the seasonal nature of our work is very important. We now have what we need to determine growth rates and to investigate how diets and energy stores change over time. Without the fall data points our information from earlier surveys is left hanging. Although we have been blessed with good weather (by November standards), working this late in the year is hard work. With the short days we are constantly running against the clock, and still have to finish up after nightfall- we wrapped up our first day in the skiff with a run in the dark, fighting rain and chop, and using the “strobe” function on my headlamp to let the boat know where we were. That evening’ s prime rib dinner felt well-deserved! We now head north to Port Dick, hoping to repeat our successful work in Kiliuda.