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The Reports of "McHenry's" Progress


1/12/98

No locations from Mchenry since 12/20. At this point I think we will not be getting any more messages from this tag. When a tag stops transmitting, there are three basic possibilities; the tag malfunctioned or ran out of power, the tag was shed (or fell off) or something happened to the seal wearing the tag. Figuring out what happened is usually a process of elimination based on the data we have received from the tag. W know that the tag was not running low on power, nor had it been giving any indication that there might be a problem with it, so I doubt that posibility. There would be little indication if the tag was shed, but I would generally believe that the tag fell off if there were no other evidence that something was not right with the seal's behavior. Basically McHenry's location data looks quite good, he quickly moved to a location of known gray seal activity. The catch, however is that his dive behavior did not indicate a great deal of deep, regular dives (as we would expect if he were feeding regularly). Although we do not have much to compare to (only one other gray seal) his behavior looks suspicious. In the next few weeks I will be looking closely at the data to see if it can give us a better idea of how he was doing, but, for now, it appears that his dive behavior was not what we expected to see.

12/30/98

No new news from McHenry. No locations and no data messages. Most of his messages were from the general location of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, but we have not had a new location since the last report. The good news is that this is a prime gray seal location, where many of the local gray seals can be found. I will be looking closely at McHenry's dive data too see if there is any information that may give a clue as to what is going on. The last messages we received indicated that the tag was "on shore", but did not give the location. Because we have had some trouble tracking McHenry since the start I am going to wait until next week before getting too concerned....more later...hopefully

12/22/98

As you can see from the small number of messages McHenry is turning out to be a bit difficult. We are getting a location or two, but for some reason he is keeping pretty quiet. He has centered his activity around the small island of Muskeegut, near Nantucket Mass. This is the location of one of the larger gray seal haul outs in the area, so that looks good. His dive data does not show much deep diving, probably meaning he is not going far from the shallows near the island. He has hauled out several times, but it will take a bit more data to , hopefully see a pattern in his behavior.

12/18/98

The good news is that MC Henry is staying near Muskeegut Island, a small island near Nantucket, Mass. This is the location of much of the gray seal population in the area ("downtown graysealville"). He has been hauling out (for as much as 12 hours at a time) and has been apparently keeping close to the shallow water near the island as he is not doing a great deal of deep diving. We will see if this is something to be concerned about over the next few days...

12/15/98

No text report. (See Data)

12/8/98

Locations are centering around Muskeegut Island. This is where many of the local gray seals are known to haul out. Good news!

12/3/98

"McHenry"... after moving as far south and west as Cuttyhunk Island, he has moved back around Martha's Vineyard to near where the largest groupings of gray seals are found in the area( near Nantucket Island ).

11/30/98

HAs traveled about one hundred miles or so since his release. He (like "Bristol") initially moves west along the coast of Cape Cod to roughly Hyannis, keeping within a mile or so of shore. He then moved east and South and headed to the southern tip of Nantucket Island, then turned west again and headed past Martha's Vineyard to the last of the Elizabeth Islands (Cuttyhunk). Our most recent location (no location today, only data) had him a mile or so off the ocean side of the Island. This has put him within miles of every location known to have gray seals around here, but so far he has shown no sign of stopping or hauling out. Signaling is improving and I will be looking at his dive data, later this week.

11/25/98

Here are some of the first bits of dive data....at least this is what I get to look at....... 33 162 01 60 99 82 67 13 01 00 00 250 What does this mean?? This is dive depth and duration information for six hours Tuesday night (about 8PM to 2AM). It means that he did 163 dives...162 of them were between 9 and 30 feet deep (one was deeper)...82 dives were less than one minute long...67 were between 1-2 minutes long...13 were between 2-3 minutes long and one was between 3-4 minutes long. No long or very deep dives so far, but hopefully this is just the start. We will be watching for things to change as he gets his "sea legs".

11/24/98

Two locations put him roughly two to three miles off shore west of his release point. He is near Monomoy Island where gray seals are common at this time of year. Watching MC after release we could see that the tag (mounted low on his neck) stays below the water and will not transmit when he is straight up in the water. We think this is why we initially do not get many signals right after a seal is released (spending a lot of time "looking around"). Two locations on the first day is not bad.

COAST GUARD NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Coast Guard Transports Seal
(Video is available)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. A Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., C-130 aircraft crew transported a gray seal from Baltimore to Cape Cod, Mass., Tuesday. The 125-pound seal, named McHenry, was rescued from the Chincoteague, Va., National Wildlife Refuge in March and was nurtured back to health by National Aquarium personnel in Baltimore for the last eight months.

The C-130 crew transported the rehabilitated seal and National Aquarium personnel to Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., to meet personnel from the New England Aquarium in Boston. Together they transported McHenry to Hardings Beach in Chatham, Mass., where he was released.

A satellite tag was attached to McHenry's fur to monitor his movements until next spring can be accessed on WhaleNet, http://whale.wheelock.edu.
RELEASE : 232-98
-USCG-
Nov. 24, 1998 9 a.m.
P.O.C.:David Schuerholz
Pager: (800) 759-8888
PIN: 1636552
Phone: (757)398-6269
RELEASE: 232-98

Commander (Acp)
U.S.C.G. Atlantic Area
431 Crawford StreetPortsmouth, VA 23704
HYPERLINK http://www.uscg/d5/news


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