Our last day of data collection began with more blue sky than we’ve seen all week! It was short-lived! We delayed my entry for observations until about 7:50 AM so that I’d finish up at about the time the trainers arrived for a session. Ronnie was still VERY inquisitive of me, but after a time-out session and a short “hand-to-pectoral fin” rub, he was done with the inquisitive behavior at me. Hmmmm … maybe he just wanted acknowledgement that I knew he was there, rather than me ignoring them and them ignoring me!
Teri asked me to record two training sessions – one with Ronnie and French and then one with Hector. Neat stuff really! I’ve been using a GoPro attached to the top of my MVA housing for a wider angle, and occasional above and below water views. This approach is handy when filming a training session. I was able to sneak in one last observation session at 10 AM for about 20 minutes – only the mom/calf pairs were in the area I was recording and youngsters Calli, Polly, Tilly, Champ and Mac all checked me out, but then hung out with each other. There was lots of whistling and clicking to be heard.
Our team had their encounter session with Kim (trainer) and Maury. And, in the middle of the encounter the downpour deluge hit! They were all good sports but the heavy rain dropped underwater visibility to nearly nothing. So, the swim session was cancelled. Just as the encounter finished, I hopped in to retrieve the SM2M from the piling. The visibility had dropped so much that I could not see the bright yellow tube until I was about 2 ft from it! Luckily, there was no current and I was able to snip the zip ties and swim the weights up to the surface. Thankfully Bill was there to help me get the weights onto the dock!
It has been raining (hard!) all day. But, our gear is now rinsed and mostly packed. The week went by quickly! I’ll upload a summary of the research conducted (data collected) once I get back to the USA.