Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tragic loss

John Ambroult, friend and pilot on the right whale aerial survey team was killed when his plane crashed last Saturday... his death represents a tragic loss not only to his friends and family, but to the community of scientists who have relied on his expertise in flying surveys for right whales and other species.


Published in the Cape Cod Times on 5/21/2008:

EASTHAM — John Ambroult, 60, died Sunday, May 18, 2008, while piloting an airplane carrying researchers doing a federal bird and wind study, near Eagleswood, N.J.

Mr. Ambroult was born in Eastham and graduated from Nauset Regional High School. In 1967, he enlisted in the Air Force, serving six years in England as a jet engine mechanic. Returning to Eastham, Mr. Ambroult started his own plumbing business, which he ran for 15 years. He then embarked on a second career as a plumbing teacher at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School.

In 1990, he bought his first plane, and his love of flying, at first a hobby, matured into a profession. Flying out of the Chatham Municipal Airport as Ambroult Aviation, Mr. Ambroult eventually owned three planes and employed other pilots. Frequent customers included scientists from private organizations like the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies and the New England Aquarium, as well as state and federal agencies.

Mr. Ambroult won high praise from these researchers for his professionalism and knowledge of flying and the sea.

He is survived by his wife, Elena Belavska of Eastham; his mother, Helen Knowles of Eastham; his father, Arthur Ambroult; his former wife, Carolyn Ambroult and their son Sean, both of Eastham; three sisters, Diane Douglas, Kathleen Murray, and Michele Watson, all of Eastham; three brothers, Martin Mickle and Theodore Mickle, of Eastham, and Robert Mickle of Windsor, N.H.; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

Friends and relatives are welcome to join the family in a memorial visitation tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Nickerson Funeral Home, 77 Eldredge Park Way in Orleans. The graveside service will be private.

Memorial donations may be made to the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, PO Box 1036, Provincetown, MA 02657; or to the New England Aquarium.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

100 Right Whales!

After weeks of photo-analysis back in the office, we have carefully gone through every photograph taken during the busy flights of April 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th...

The results? During this one week in Cape Cod Bay, we documented 100 different individual right whales!!!

(That's roughly 1/4 of the entire species)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Aerial Survey - 06 May 2008

We had a gorgeous day out above the bay today, with very little wind and flat calm waters! We slowly made our way up through Cape Cod Bay going trackline by trackline, and looking for right whales. We had an incredible view of a basking shark, and saw quite a few fin and humpback whales, but not a single right whale was seen! It appears that they've left just as suddenly as they came...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

R/V Ibis- 01 May 2008

After spending all week doing photo-analysis in the office, I had an unexpected opportunity to help out the disentanglement team this afternoon. We received a report of a possible entanglement in Cape Cod Bay and went out to investigate. We never did find an entangled whale, but it was a gorgeous afternoon out on the water- flat calm! We saw fin and humpback whales, and got an amazing close up look at a basking shark!