At sea off Western Sahara

Oct 11, 2017 - National Geographic Orion


This morning we entered the tropics proper, crossing the Tropic of Cancer. We looked hard, but did not see any painted lines on the surface of the ocean. The temperature is slowly increasing, the water is becoming more and more blue, and the flying fish are beginning to appear.  Flying fish travel near the surface of the ocean, and as National Geographic Orion sails through the water we scare up the fish. With a few flicks of their tails, these fish take to the air, spreading their pectoral fins. Gliding is a more appropriate description of what is happening, and sometimes a glide can go well over 100 meters in length. Usually this is to escape a predator, and we watched this in action today. Striped dolphins were spotted chasing and probably consuming flying fish.  Some fish took to the air, but others certainly didn’t make it.

To end the day, we assembled on deck to watch the sunset. We enjoyed not one, but TWO green flashes as the sun passed through a cloud bank and rewarded the “attentive observer” with double the joy. Another glorious day at sea.

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About the Author

Mike Greenfelder

Undersea Specialist

Mike learned early on that the best way to escape Ohio was to become a marine biologist.  During college at Wittenberg University he attended a semester at Duke University's Marine Lab — that time only confirmed his love for all things oceanic and maritime.  After graduation, Mike promptly moved to Catalina Island in California where he taught marine biology to school kids.  Since 1999, Mike has been working and traveling chasing his three loves: marine critters, photography, and birds.

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