Our morning began as usual, with dolphin observations in the morning. Kathleen was surprised by a rapid fire greeting from Lenca and Tank. They LOVED her fins and hung out with her for several minutes before moving off with Rocky for some social interactions.
Early morning … data collection was spent observing dolphins through a silty, particulate lens. I.e., the underwater visibility was “crappy,” but the dolphins were social and spent much time playing with sea grass and seaweed.
This morning’s data collection session featured some neat behavior with Stan circling Kathleen and also competing with Poli for Manon’s attention but also some fast swims by the calves and the younger animals. There were lots of leaps and speed swims. It was a good session, even though the visibility was not great. Stan and Mr. French spent time investigating Kathleen’s fins.
This morning started with a great session for data collection that had joyful, goofy dolphins! There was a lot of breaches and weird vocalizations … with each other but also to Kathleen, Manon, John, and Bill. It was sort of the Sandy and Maury show this morning with respect to wiggly surface behavior. Just below you can see Tilly and Sandy at the surface this morning.
Kathleen was greeted by more than dolphin just before her entry for data collection! Shane was being silly … and Kathleen wished that Champ had taken his cue from Shane. Alas, Champ was more interested in Kathleen’s fins this morning, which truncated this morning’s underwater data collection session.
Our last full day began like the others – with dolphin data collection and observations. What was very different to the other days was the very strong winds and also the strong current. Dr. D was only able to collect about 20 min of underwater video. Still the dolphins were fun to watch and to see them play in the choppy waves. We also had an informal discussion with Samir Galindo, General Manager of AKR. It was educational to learn a bit more about the resort and facility history and to hear about the sustainable conservation programs ongoing here.
Dolphins in the morning: data collection and review and learning about RQ from Manon. We also practiced recognizing different dolphins and then began our personal chats with Dr. K and Dr. D – we have to either draft a research proposal examining a behavioral indicator of physiology or create a PSA using something we learned on this course to teach folks in CO. We also had an early afternoon lecture from Jen about coral reef restoration (way cool that scientists have identified a way to grow coral swiftly – maybe letting us repopulate some of the damaged reefs). And our evening wrapped up with a nighttime boat snorkel followed by dinner.
The students are getting more proficient at the space use data collection and the surface logs. The underwater visibility was better and the dolphins more social. Gracie and Trixie and Elli with Gizmo spent much time circle swimming Kathleen. Stan had some tight circles and vocalizations. After a quick breakfast, we spent a couple hours on the snorkel boat and in the water – two snorkels were had and provided glorious views of several fishes, one small shipwreck and several statues. It was quite fun!
Data collection was BUSY today! The dolphins were active and playful. The underwater vis was a bit better. Kathleen observed Tilly try a few attempts at removing the remora floating over Sandy’s belly and back – with no success! Sandy and Rocky chased each other a few times and played a round of “mouth game” – on their sides, jawing at each other while seemingly trying to see whose mouth was bigger!
Today was a jam-packed day! We had early morning data collection followed by a yummy breakfast and open discussion about any topic. Then we went to Maya Key for a morning snorkel on a south-side reef, viewed rescued animals, had a delightful lunch and toured the Mayan ruins on the island. Our late afternoon was spent with the RIMS trainers and dolphins getting to know them all a bit better. Thank you to Eldon, Teri, Denry, Elyork, Cain, Antony, Jason, Gerald, Archie, Kenly, and the dolphins for your time this afternoon!