17 January 2018

A Dolphin-filled Day!

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RonnieFrench RonnieFrench DCP

We finally did a full observation session! It was crazy to be able to do a full session. The dolphins were surprisingly quiet – not a lot of surface action in general and very uninterested in us on the docks. The water and the weather were pleasantly calmer this morning compared to the previous days! The 30 min observation session went by really fast! It was cool to go around the docks for this session and see the dolphins in other areas of the enclosure. It was interesting that we saw dolphins that Kathleen did not get on camera because they were in other areas of the enclosure.
Breakfast was wonderful as always and the pancakes are highly recommended by Kianna!
The rest of our morning was in the classroom where we watched today’s footage and had a discussion about the pec fin papers. It was clear that the dolphins were very quiet underwater – they mirrored their underwater quietness and low activity at the surface. It seemed from our view that dolphins were always around Kathleen but there were bits of time on the footage where there were no dolphins in view, which was surprising. It was also neat to see the pec fin behaviors and postures that we had only talked about or read about. It is starting to come clear the relationships that these dolphins have with each other.
During our class discussion, we learned that we’d have our dolphin swim at 1:30 today – woohoo!
So, after a joyful tasty lunch, we put on our bathing suits, grabbed our snorkel gear and headed down to RIMS. We got another short encounter with Alita and then donned our gear for the swim. Below are our brief impressions of our swims.
Justin: I was impressed by their ability to glide through the water while I struggled against the current!
Chloe: it was exciting to see the animals we’d been fawning over up close and personal in their own element as well as explore different areas of the enclosure.
Gabby: I really liked seeing the dolphin calf up close and personal because we usually don’t get to see a calf so close. Let’s just say my goggles were filling with water and it was not the ocean.
Lauren: I appreciated the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to see and swim with these animals in a natural lagoon.
Becky: I thought it was really incredible that the dolphins are comfortable including us in their natural habitat. At one point, there were 7 dolphins that swam all around me and were touching me on my sides.
Danielle: It was eye-opening how fast these animals could swim just at ease … without effort while I was kicking really hard through the water.
Jess: It was very exhilarating when the dolphins chose to swim directly to me and interact with me.
Liz: I was thankful that the dolphins came near us because they could have chosen to not interact with us.
Erin: I like how the calf was eager to interact with us but then Bailey or one of the younger females would swoop in and swim between him and us.
Kianna: I thought that it was really amazing that we got the experience to put the footage we’ve been analyzing into real-life and see the dolphins and their behavior with our own eyes.
Kendall: It was pretty breathtaking and interesting to feel like I was part of the dolphin pod.
Hannah: I thought it was unbelievable to witness their speed underwater. Being right next to them when they swam swiftly was amazing.
Sam: I thought it was exhaustingly magical.
Our afternoon was complete with a rejuvenating break that offered the option of a hot shower, and time to work on our reading or just ponder our dolphin swims. Of course, the afternoon’s rain, wind and wave action could not keep our spirits down!
Tomorrow begins with another data collection session, but before then we get to enjoy another yummy dinner!
Until tomorrow,
Kathleen, Justin and the URI MMPB team

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