Day Off!

And a day off doesn’t get much better than this…

 Following Kathleen’s advice, Darcie and I make sure to take a complete day off from dolphins every so often–really, truly a day off. This can be hard to do, but it means no dolphin related emailing, no video logs, no peaking at the catalog–not even a field report (so we are writing this on the 18th!). Well, today was that day for us. And what a day it turned out to be! We went out on a friend’s boat, without the MVA! As we traveled north of the island, we did however, come upon a group of spotted dolphins. And, even though we weren’t in work mode, we couldn’t help but notice that #17 (Lumpy) and #25 were there, along with a few mystery dolphins. So, our friend and Darcie hopped in the water to have a little fun, while I kept an eye out on the surface. After the dolphins left us, we continued north to find dinner.
    Now, let us interject for a moment here and just remind all of you that down here we are in Bahamian waters, where it is completely legal to swim with wild dolphins. Of course, whether at work or at play, we are always sure to do so respectfully and as unobtrusively as possible. In the United States, however, it is illegal to swim with wild marine mammals, including dolphins.
    So, back to our fun day off: Once we had gotten to our destination, our friend caught some tasty hogfish, one of which would prove to be a very delicious dinner. Dinner was to be eaten after we relaxed for a bit back on shore. This was a part of the island that Darcie had never been to, so we were more than happy to introduce her to it. The first part of her first introduction was to a large southern stingray, which was all to pleased to eat the scraps of the hogfish and very graciously posed for a photo or two. We also took the time to wander onshore (this is an undeveloped area) where we were pleasantly surprised at the sight of circling, squawking sandpipers. We soon realized that we were in the middle of a nesting ground–no less than 12 groups (mostly groups of two) of eggs wonderfully camouflaged in the dry sea grass. Darcie even spotted to hatchlings! These little guys were curled up together and were also perfectly camouflaged. We were told that these birds are normally gone from this area by the end May, however, this year it has been unseasonably cool (a relative term, trust us), so they seem to have been delayed. What an unexpected treat!
    After one day off, we’re already feeling ready to be back on the dolphin boat–good thing there is a trip tomorrow! The rest of next week will be a bit slow in terms of boat time, but then will pick up the last week of June.

Until next time,
Kel and Darcie