Good things come to those who wait….

Bim09_waterspoutDuring this morning’s discussion (Thursday) on behavioral ethograms, we dispelled misconceptions that an ethogram is a complicated machine…We also watched some of the surface video that was collected on Wednesday.On today’s dolphin survey we saw two patches of rain in the distance, each of which had a developing water spout! For most of us, it was the first we’d ever seen. Early on, we passed an ecotour boat that was observing a group of dolphins. In an attempt not to crowd the dolphins, our boat kept its distance. Then, we had almost given up hope, but at 18:36 we saw a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins. There were 11 animals in this group, including White Blotch (#29) and un-named #84. There was a lot of petting between individuals, bowriding and some possible mating or socio-sexual behavior. We were able to observe a subset of the group from 18:51 to 18:57. This was a group of 2 juveniles (1 was just beginning its spot development) and 1 calf.

In this photo, you can see bubbles coming from #84. We heard a lot of whistles underwater and were amazed at the way sound travels under water. There were times when we could hear the dolphins, but not see them. As the youngsters were playing, there was a lot of chasing, with only a little bit of pectoral fin contact. Shortly after we got back on the boat, it was time to pick up speed and head back to the dock. But, our work was not over and at 19:03 there 10-12 animals, with nearly all riding the bow. Within a few minutes, only White Blotch (#29) and a young juvenile remained. The juvenile may be White Blotch’s 2004 calf and is getting speckled on the belly. The juvenile was much more active than White Blotch, barrel rolling and swimming belly up. The juvenile was surfacing to breath more often than the adult and was the last to leave the bow at 19:16.Back on land, we had a stirfry dinner and were able to venture out for a brief glimpse of local nightlife, including a small local band. There was a keyboardist, a bassists and a third man alternating between playing a saw and the maracas. Some of us even had the opportunity to have a turn playing backup with the maracas. As is local custom, we left our mark and signed the wall.