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May 24, 2012
updated May 30, 2012

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North Atlantic right whale mother and calf pair on the northern edge of Georges Banks. Both were newly identified and documented during this cruise. NOAA Photo by Jennifer Gatzke, MMPA research permit 775-1875

Delaware II Returns from Final Cruise

An eventful right whale survey closes the ship's 44-year career

Coming slowly into view through thick fog, the 155-foot Delaware II returned to Woods Hole at 7 a.m. on Thursday, May 24.

The vessel completed a very successful North Atlantic right whale survey cruise during which dozens of right whales, sei whales and basking sharks were observed, and other work completed. The cruise, led by the Center's Protected Species Branch, had a spectacular highlight: documentation of a new female with a calf.   The pair were spotted among a feeding aggregation on the Northern edge of Georges Bank, far from the Great south Channel, where right whales more typically occur in May.  The new mom has been added to the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog as #3995, and the new calf brings the season's documented total to seven.

The ship's arrival in Woods Hole also marked the end of 44 years of service for the Delaware II as it completed its last, and very successful, research cruise. Well done!

Click on the photo to the right to see a slide show of the Delaware II final docking in Woods Hole, and picture of the newly identified right whale mother-calf pair >>

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