Last Day in Paradise … with dolphins!

We had another sunny beautiful morning that was all quiet on the surface during our observation session. It could be said that it was “all quiet on the western front!” More often than not we were able to recognize the dolphins that swam by our observation stations. And, Bailey’s calf was being a dolphin and was swimming between several different other dolphins. Several of the dolphins had new rake marks, so they must have had fun last night! Several of the dolphins were throwing seaweed above the surface, almost like playing catch with each other.
After our early morning session, we had a delightful breakfast. And following our morning meal, the last two of us, Chandra and Macy, helped with the innovate/create study. The rest of us entered data, transcribed notes, enjoyed the hammocks and took a brief nap – the first fleeting “free hours” of our week. Our rest prepared us for our physiology lecture in a chilled classroom (who would have thought at the start of the week that we would welcome an air-conditioned room!).
During the physiology lecture, we learned it all comes down to energy and water. The importance of the shape of the dolphins was discussed such that we realized how it is advantageous to their success as fully aquatic mammals. Dolphins have 1/3 more blood than we do, also. Lunch followed our talk and we enjoyed pasta and burgers and yummy salads.
After lunch, we returned to Bailey’s Cay for our last session of data collection on fluke strokes per breath for Ritchie and Bill. The underwater visibility was back to excellent, which was good for counting fluke strokes. Ritchie was a bit distracted by what might have been going on in the main enclosure as he kept looking that way. We were able to collect 4 sessions with Ritchie and 3 with Bill. This brings our total sessions to 14: 7 per animal. The average strokes per minute over all sessions was fairly stable and also breaths per minute were quite consistent. We will look at the data more after back at CSU for our projects.
We wrapped up our day at Bailey’s Cay with a photo of us and the CSU study abroad flag and French and Ronnie! Denry helped us get the image (Thank you!).
We finished our day with some souvenir shopping and paddle-boarding and kayaking! Macy did yoga (cobra and down-dog) on the paddle-board while Lauren N. and Delaney finally made it to a standing position (with only 1 or 2 flops!).
We finished the day with a final delicious supper. Tomorrow, sadly, we return to Colorado taking many new memories, lessons learned, and new friends made with us.
Until next time,
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

P.S. Have fun University of Rhode Island group – enjoy the food! We did!