Photo-ID and surfing dolphins

BIM14_T4_C5sargassumOn Wednesday, we began our day by identifying individual dolphins that we saw on our dolphin trip yesterday. We positively ID’d Romeo (#10), Lil’ Jess (#35), Swoosh (#36), Prince William (#64), un-named #99. It was easier for us to make the IDs than on our first practice day – maybe we’re getting better! It also showed us a bit of what a fission-fusion society is like and we noticed that yesterday Romeo & Prince William were often in the same photograph.

After photo-ID work, we had a lecture on ecotourism. To really be ecotourism, the requirements are quite specific; we think we are meeting those requirements on this trip! Throughout the world, ecotourism is growing, so it needs to be controlled with regulations, guidelines, etc.

We departed once again at 14:30, but today was quite choppy. Some of us sat on the bow and felt we were on a roller coaster! Weee! Even in the waves, we were able to observe 4 bottlenose dolphins. They were likely subadults, with one calf, but it was difficult to be sure because they did not spend a lot of time at the surface, which was wavy. It was possible they were bottom grubbing (aka crater feeding). We drove a little while longer and then we saw a manta ray! It was super exciting and only moments later, we realized there were also spotted dolphins! There were four dolphins in total: an adult (C5, pictured here with sargassum), a subadult (C4) and two calves (C2). They were doing a lot of surfing and bowriding, as well as making corkscrews through the water. One of the calves leapt out of the water. There was also lot of pectoral fin rubbing; at one point a calf went belly up and proceeded to rub the subadult’s pectoral fin with its own. We lost sight of the dolphins, after 32 minutes, in the waves and needed to start heading back.

Our evening wrapped up with chicken burrito-things and ice cream!

Until tomorrow,
UNBSJ 2014