I had a slow morning that was punctuated by clouds, gusty winds from the North, and a REALLY strong current! I woke early to assemble the MVA and prep my gear for the first session of data collection in 2021. Since Ron arrived in the afternoon, I waited to conduct my first underwater session until after the training team arrived and moved dolphins around and fed breakfast. It was a good feeling to observe the dolphins from the dock AND remember everyone … there are a few new rakes on a few individuals, which I’ll share as the week progresses. This view is Sandy and Tilly – Sandy is more to the right and you can see a few healing rakes on her back. They were chasing each other near the corner dock while I watched. I also saw them underwater several times but the underwater visibility was less than 2 m and quite silty. I spent an equal amount of time swimming against the current as I did observing dolphins this morning! (you can see the grass flowing in the current near Sandy in this blog’s photo!) Still, I saw just about everyone in the main lagoon: Gracie was often flanked by Ronnie and Ritchie while Bailey played with Rona and Alita and Tank and Calli got reacquainted with my fins and the MVA face plate! I also watched Champ and Stan play and chase each other a bit. Even though the current gave me a work out and the silty visibility means IDs will be a challenge, it was rejuvenating to collect data!
Ron arrived about mid-afternoon and his trip presented a few more challenges than did mine! His negative covid results paperwork was not quite “official” looking but he was able to get a faxed copy with more details. He had a connection through Houston on his way to Roatan, so his day was long but overall it was a long but good day. And, he finished by arriving to AKR in time for a late lunch. Ron’s impression of the safety protocols here on Roatan are like mine … very well done and people seem to adhere to the policies and protocols mostly. I’ve not seen folks without masks when social distancing is not an option (e.g., indoors). Even the water taxi boats here at AKR are limiting the number of people per trip to maintain social distancing. It still feels odd to me that mask wearing and social distancing seem to transcend culture. It drives home the global nature of the pandemic and how people are pulling together to address the situation.
The wind and current are supposed to lessen a bit tomorrow … we hope! As it’s just Ron and me, we’ll head over to Bailey’s Key at about 7:30 AM.
It had become a sort of tradition over the last 5-6 years to begin each new year with time at AKR and RIMS. I am fortunate to be about to continue this tradition in 2021!
Kathleen & Ron