It was another glorious sunset. Just as the sun was low on the horizon we spotted some dolphins. They were feeding and there were lots of them. Maybe forty or fifty and they were small. We were not sure what they were.
We could not get too close to them, there were so many, they seemed to ignore us.
The scientific research on the boat is centred around dolphins and whales but members of the crew also take a keen interest in any birds we see. With either sets of animals lots of pictures are taken with a very long focus lens camera. Once the sighting is over the photographs are pored over and examined carefully for clues to the animal in question. It is a much better system than trying to remember the details from memory.
The picture of the boat shows no person steering it. We have an automatic helm that steers the boat almost all of the time. In very windy and rough weather it sometimes cannot cope but for gentle sailing like today whoever is on watch (thats me, I took the photograph) only has to keep a lookout ahead for any boats and to keep an eye on the wind direction and adjust the settings if the wind veers. There are a few other things to monitor, like fuel levels if we have the engine running or the state of the batteries.
There is always someone on deck keeping an eye on things. In this photograph you can also see two pairs of legs on the frame above the deck. These people are looking out for whales / dolphins.