Friday began with a sleepy start after breakfast and blog, going straight into lecture. We briefly recapped the topic of play before moving onto group living in cetaceans. We discussed the baleen whales in addition to the toothed whales. We learned that females are the best resources for males 😉 With time left before break, we worked to ID one of the photos we collected yesterday: the young subadult, who was associating with a calf, was….Noodle (ID#94)!!! It was so difficult to attempt to recognize the dolphins in the water, but with one still photo in front of us, it was much more feasible to see the details that would lead us to a catalog match. It was really cool to be a part of the research and add to DCP’s sighting history for Noodle.
During our break, some of us went back to the straw market, others went to the bakery for cake and Morgan took a powernap! We came back for lunch (which was delicious) and then got ready for the boat, taking our daily sunscreen baths. The boat departed at 1500, and we had a hot, slow start. We had a swim break partway to wake up and cool off. Christine was one of the last in the water and she saw some cool, funky fish. She called up to the boat and when she looked down there was one remora. Then another. And then Christine was racing (and screaming!) back to the boat. Dom and Tyler hopped in the water to look – and even they were zipping back to the safety of the boat! Don’t worry parents: the remoras can’t really hurt us!
We filled our bellies with snack and self-proclaimed “semi-retired” Captain Al spotted dorsal fins in the distance. There were more whitecaps than we’d seen in previous days so it was difficult for us to see the dolphins until they were very close to the boat. Before we got in the water, there were at least 13 dolphins in a very tight group. As we were getting our snorkel gear on, the dolphins were swimming at the back of the boat – it seemed like they were waiting for us! Though there were a lot of dolphins in this group, we felt calmer in the water, more collected than yesterday. With the mechanics of snorkeling more secure, we were able to take in more details about the dolphins’ behavior and individual characteristics. For some of us, it also felt like the dolphins were coming closer to us today and we felt more comfortable executing our movements around them, really realizing that they can control their movements around us.
To cap off the trip, Dom found his soulmate: as we headed back into the harbor, a woman on a yacht next to us was dancing. Dom began dancing “with” her and when she noticed, she danced “with” him too, even lassoing him! Back on land, we cleaned up and had dinner (yum yum curry chicken and amazing cake!). We reviewed our own photos (Morgan found a match to a dolphin just from memory!) and then watched the social episode of BBC’s “Inside the Animal Mind.” Full and sleepy, we went to bed to the sound of a street party.
“Sea” you at the wedding,
The Podfia (EKU 2016)