Murky Mangroves

We began the day with data collection while Dr. D was in the water. It was the most interactive that Paige has seen since we’ve been here this week. Gonzalo said that one of the most interesting things was all the new behaviors we saw this morning, such as barrel rolls and some object play. There were also some odd combinations of dolphins this morning and they were playing in trios and small groups. Alex C saw a puffer fish when doing the observations this morning for the sea grass biodiversity study.
Actually, this morning there were two concurrent data collection sessions – while Dr. D was observing dolphins, a portion of the class was assisting Soledad and Grant with their last session for recording sea grass and the critters who live in the grasses.
Our morning wrapped up with a talk from Teri, Head of Training at RIMS. We learned how the trainers at RIMS do their dolphin training and teaching. One really cool behavior is the difference between bring natural versus artificial objects from their environment to the trainer.
Before lunch, we worked on a bit of our data review and summary. As usual, lunch was delightful for our taste buds.
Our afternoon boat snorkel had us travel to the mangroves in an attempt to see the tiny animals that call the mangrove roots home. Unfortunately, underwater turbidity was high and we could barely see our hands in front of our faces … meaning we did not see any marine animals. Plan B was a return to the boat and a small jaunt to a reef adjacent to a sandy area. It was a drift snorkel – meaning the boat dropped us off and then came to pick us up after about 30 minutes. We saw a lionfish, giant hermit crab, lots of coral. Soledad chatted with our boat captain, Kino, and learned about the island while the rest of us enjoyed the underwater demonstration of fishes and coral – it was a colorful snorkel with lots of fun punctuated by wavelets that periodically topped our snorkels!
The late afternoon gave us a bit of free time to work on data, or nap, depending on how tired each of us was after the boat snorkel. We cleaned up and went to listen to Dr. D’s talk about dolphins. A second night snorkel at Bailey’s Key was enjoyed by Jessica, Sam, Kim, Kassandra and Dr. H with Dr. D as the safety guide.
Tomorrow is our last day and it will be filled with data collection, dolphins, and snorkeling!
St. Mary’s Snorkelin’ Snakes