Barracuda, sharks and dolphins, oh my!

WE SAW DOLPHINS!!! But first, Monday morning included a mangrove tour that lasted about 2.5 hours. We saw many critters and really enjoyed the animals. The afternoon boat trip brought us dolphins! We spent about 1.5 hours watching the dolphins from the boat. We saw 3 dolphins first (Nemo (#78), Leslie (#80) and an un-ID adult) and then our group size grew to 10 individuals. We did not get to swim with the dolphins as they really just wanted to play with the boat. Below are some comments from the DRTs and chaperones: 

Bill: We went on the mangrove tour and saw a lot of sharks and sting rays. 

Porter: We saw dolphins but we weren’t able to swim with them because they were not interested in us in the water. 

Becca: We saw two giant “spiky starfish” and dolphins. 

Stephanie: While we were sitting on the boat, the water splashed up and got us wet – the boat was passing through choppy waves. 

E: We finally got to see some dolphins and they were a lot smaller than I thought they’d be. And I had a great time in the mangroves seeing the variety of sharks and the sting rays. 

Emily: I saw a dolphin jumping out of the water and lots of fins. 

Ben: We stopped in the middle of the mangroves to swim and the water was really clear – it seemed like you could see forever. 

Sam: We went snorkeling near the mangroves and saw three big starfish and two nurse sharks.

Liam: It was really fun weaving through the mangroves and seeing all the nurse sharks. It was sort of easy to spot Trudy because of her hooked dorsal fin, just because all the dolphins were surfacing near the boat and we saw mostly their fins. 

Jack: On the mangrove tour we saw a barracuda and a pelican flying overhead. We also saw two nurse sharks mating. Even though it was only a few seconds, it was cool to try to identify my dolphin from scars and marks. 

Athan: Today we spotted some spotted dolphins and we saw about 9 at one time. And my favorite was Nemo because of her lucky fin.  

Gabby: We ate dinner on the docks and sort of watched the sun set over the ocean. It was really pretty. It was also really neat to see real dolphins and not just the pictures that we had been studying. We actually got to apply what we had been learning about dolphin IDs and recognize some dolphins.  

Sarah: I was really surprised to see my dolphin, Romeo, for the first time in real life. It was neat also to see this dolphin I had on the trading card – in reality. 

Alexis: It was really nice to get back into the research swing of things and do a lot of the stuff that I got to do last year on the boat like recording data.  

Gary: Our mangrove guide, Strata, is really proud of his three-year old daughter, Marina Sophie, and he told us all about the healing hole in the mangroves. It is kind of a hidden 30ft in diameter deep hole with fresh water and salt water and a smell like rotten eggs. And it’s supposed to have healing properties.  

John: after speeding through the little mangrove rivers, which is like speeding through a tunnel in spots, I got to see my first Ibis, a tropical bird with a big hooked bill.  

We were greeted variously through the dolphin sighting by Romeo (#10), Nemo (#76), White Blotch (#29), Lil Jess (#35), Trudy (#56), Leslie (#80), and un-ID #75 and several others which we could not identify from the surface. Nemo and another adult were exchanging many pec fin rubs! It was a good day and we are all tired and mildly sun-filled!

Until tomorrow,

Kel, Kathleen & the DRTs