The RV Odyssey has departed from Key West, Florida, and for this first leg of Operation Toxic Gulf 2014 the Odyssey is following the drop-off of the South Florida Continental Shelf where the depth goes from a few hundred feet to a few miles deep. These drop-offs are very biologically-productive areas, and as our goal is to find and sample sperm whales this is where we need to be.
Our planned route takes the Odyssey due north along the shelf back to shallow water about 200 miles off of Apalachicola, Florida to a location known for the extremely rare Bryde’s (pronounced Brude-ess) whales. It is thought that there are only between 25 and 30 animals left in this population, so any data we can collect would be priceless. In previous Gulf expeditions we were able to obtain two biopsies from these animals.
You can follow the position of the Odyssey here thanks to our Iridium satellite phone onboard.
(We’re not quite sure how the first position of the Odyssey ended up showing them 20 miles inland on Cuba but we can assure you they did not stop for a visit)