We saw dolphins on the early side yesterday and today. Monday’s trip we were able to stay with a group of spotted dolphins (not in the water though) for almost 3 hours! It was amazing. Among the dolphins were #s 4, 10, 17, 22, 64, 69, 77, 78 and possibly #48. They were seen quite close to the island, but were traveling slowing south. We were able to get into the water between 19:07 and 19:34 with #s 4, 10, 22 and 64. We observed a lot of play and mating behavior. Then on the ride in, we had the pleasure of more dolphins riding the bow. One of these dolphins was an “itty-bitty” calf! (Yes, that is the technical term). Surely the youngest dolphin any of us has ever seen. It was only around briefly though, and we were unable to tell if it still had fetal folds, or who the mother is.
Today we had our phone links with Mystic, our weekly presentation and the boat trip. Again we had dolphins for nearly the entire time out. First, it was a group of 2 spotteds-an unidentified adult with a calf who we have seen quite regularly. We do not yet have photographs of them, but the calf has some sort of rash on most of its peduncle. We do not know what this is from (bad scarring, fungus, infection?), but the calf seems to be moving around quite well. Later, we had more dolphins at our bow and a brief encounter. We also had a marlin swim past the boat! The real excitement of the day, however, was when we came upon a large group, including a very, very small calf! We can’t be sure if it was the same one as yesterday, but we got a much better look today! It doesn’t seem to have fetal folds anymore and was probably about 2 feet long. There were 5 adults (including White Blotch, #29 and Freckles, #15) and 2 other, older calves in this group. The calf was showing and receiving affection from all the adults, so we cannot be sure who the mother is. (White Blotch is a possibility). They stayed with us for an hour and 20 minutes. An interesting note is that when our boat wandered into deeper water (100 feet, rather than the <40 we are usually in), only some of the adults and the older calves stayed with the boat. We could see 2 adults and the small calf in the distance–in the shallow water. Once we returned to the shallows, the small calf again was able to check out the boat.
Just when we thought that was it for the day, and we were heading back to the island, 3 more spotteds came to the bow, including Nemo (#76). It was a great day even if it didn’t result in too much MVA1 footage. Two more trips before the week is through.
K, K and J