04 October 2017

Data Collection and a Trip to Maya Key for our group

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We met at the water taxi stand at 6 AM for the short ride to Bailey’s Key. I was in the water by 6:15 AM and observing dolphins very soon thereafter! The underwater visibility was less than the previous days but the dolphins were just as social. Erin took this photo during her observations – it makes me wonder who is watching whom?! Calli, Polly and Elli decided that my fins were a delightful toy! How often have you pulled on someone’s feet or fins when they are swimming? :-)

At about 35 min into my observations, it got very quiet – noticeably quiet because the dolphins had been whistling and buzzing and were just plain loud. I learned from our surface observation team that there were at least 2 wild dolphins that swam into the channel just east of Bailey’s Key. They swam in, circled for a couple minutes and then swam back outside the reef. Ron said he thought there was a larger group out there. Calli, and two other dolphins were focused at the net listening.

Our morning session yielded about 40 min of video and included several minutes of Mrs. Beasley and Carmella! They have been on camera more this week than in the last few years. I think for Carmella it might be related to her two youngest offspring – Stan and Elli who are very social and inquisitive.

Our late morning was spent transcribing notes and copying footage to our hard drives. I was able to get back in for another 30 min observation session at noon. They underwater visibility had dropped off a bit, but that did not deter us from returning at 3 PM to film a couple of training sessions to confirm camera angles – both above and below the water surface – for a future study on dolphin innovation. John’s suggestion for top and bottom GoPros worked out very nicely!

Our day wrapped up with a quick swim in the swimming pool where several of our group shared details of their day to Maya Key and scuba dives. Everyone seemed to have a great day … and we did not turn into pumpkins when “Roatan Midnight” arrived – also known as 8 PM!

Tomorrow is another early start but hopefully will bring more neat behaviors to observe and discuss!

Cheers

Kathleen

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