Dolphins, Sea Turtles, Sea Jellies, Fish and more …

Many of us woke to find that we slept through an earthquake last night, or did not feel it. After letting our families know we were alive and well, we headed to collect dolphin behavior observations. It was our first set of observations without rain. The dolphins were splashing and noisy at the surface. We had more success also in recognizing individual dolphins. We saw Ronnie, Lenca, Tilly, Carmella, French, Ritchie, Dory and Polly. Calli and the calf were also easy to ID this morning.
We did a brief break for breakfast (since food is a motivating factor this week), then went back to Bailey’s Cay to test out and decide on the methods for our project that focuses on respirations that might be associated with tail strokes. It was a struggle but every idea we had got us closer to what we might actually be able to do for collecting data on the last two days here. We’re excited to try our hand at data collection for our project tomorrow.
A few of us participated in data collection on the innovate/create study. Then, before lunch, we spent some time learning a bit more about confirming dolphin IDs from video and the video log process. Confirming the IDs is a lot harder than we all thought it would be – recognizing the individual dolphins is straightforward but confirming all their marks is not that easy.
After a hearty lunch, we listened to Jennifer in a lecture about sea turtles and their conservation. We learned about the Arribada for the 10 million eggs that are laid seasonally by between 75,000 and 100,000 sea turtles in Costa Rica. Then we went on our group’s first boat and drift snorkel on Butcher’s Reef. We saw a puffer fish, sea jellies, and a good-sized nurse shark. Serena saw a moray eel. Cailey saw a lion fish, too! Though there were no whitecaps, there was a 3 ft swell that felt a bit like a roller coaster.
Tonight’s dinner was a fiesta night on the cay – a BBQ picnic with delicious ribs and cheesy mac ‘n cheese! Oh yes, brownies for dessert! There was a hermit crab race and a limbo contest (woohoo Delaney!) and we also learned a bit about the culture of the islands with a presentation by Garifuna dancers.
This is our first clear night with a vivid view of the stars! We look forward to tomorrow and the potential for the sun to greet us on Bailey’s Cay!
Until tomorrow,
Lauren (#1), Kenna, Caitlyn, Lauren (#2), Casey, Julia, Serena, Delaney, Cailey, Macy (like the store), and Chandra (the CSU crew) with supporting roles from Shane, Kathleen, Heather, Dee, & Maria