We have a diehard group of eco-tour participants dedicated to our research and data collection at 6:30 every morning but today was their day to enjoy an encounter and swim with the dolphins (after, of course, data collection was complete!). The encounter had members of our group sharing time with Gracie and Alita, two adult females. After a meet and greet, everyone spent ~30 min swimming with the dolphin group. The smiles on their human faces on water exit were a testament to the fun had by all. Games of seagrass toss and chase were engaged in. Everyone was still talking about their swim experience at Fiesta night, which also included delicious food (the mac & cheese did not disappoint!) as well as entertainment and prizes! We were a lucky group tonight – Butch won a 30-min massage from a grab bag. Regina’s hermit crab won the crab race. And Dee was crowned Limbo Queen!
Our day, as with each this week, began at 6:15 at the water taxi followed by a 50-min data collection session. The one-year-old calves were feisty and full of speed today. We watched Gracie wrestle with her calf, Shawn. Dory and Alita were together most of the observation session, except when Alita decided to use the seagrass bed as a loofa pad! She rubbed her entire belly in the bottom and then her face! You can see her here in a screen grab from the video record.
All in all, it was another great day of diving, camaraderie, and dolphin data collection! Several folks said the weather is predicted to shift to rain and wind tomorrow, and I am hoping it holds off a couple of days.