A team of marine researchers has left Suffolk to spend several months studying endangered whales.
They set sail from Ipswich on 25 March bound for the Azores, the east coast of America and Iceland. On the list of animals they'll be looking for are Right and Minke whales. With money from the International Fund for Animal Welfare they'll be hoping to promote whale conservation and responsible whale watching.
In particular the team are looking for baleen whales - large varieties such as minke, sperm, blue and fin whales. Known to migrate around the North Atlantic. It'll be a tight fit for the crew of ten or eleven but their focus is to identify and photograph these species.
On board the boat, the Song of the Whale is expert marine listener, Miriam Romagosa, who normally works on windfarms.
– Marine biologist, Miriam Romagosa
"Some rare ones I would like to see because in my job, it's in the English Channel we only see porpoises there and there's not many more animals there. So I'm expecting to see many more animals than I'm used to in my job."
– Richard McLanaghan, International Fund for Animal Welfare
"What we're really interested in is using our acoustic techniques to find them and also we're looking at the movements of the whales because obviously in Iceland they still hunt the fin whale. Many of the large whales were hunted for many many years and they're very slow to reproduce and they're taking a long time to recover in post industrial whaling days"
From Ipswich the Song of the Whale will head to the Azores - looking for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. Then onto Boston in America. On the return leg it's to Iceland to study Minke whales behaviour. The Song of the Whale won't return to East Anglian shores until late September.