Data collection and a Free DayOur trip went by VERY swiftly this session but was very successful. The six students representing five clubs from the Boys & Girls Clubs did a great job assisting with data collection, learned much about the underwater world and Bahamian culture, and just plain had fun.
A visit to the Straw Market allowed several folks to get their hair braided (a must when you visit the Bahamas) as well as see the tourist sites down town.
For data, we collected 5.5 hours of video with several sessions done observing the mother/calf pairs.
Sea Lions, Dolphins, and Coral … oh my! The best laid plans and all that … we had our day all planned for learning about coral, sea lions and then more dolphins with the day finishing up with a swim with the dolphins. Alas, our scheduling was off, still we got everything in and had a great day!
The coral reef presentation finished with a walk along the shore to better understand the coastline and interaction between the shore and reef. We then got to briefly meet & learn about the sea lions who now call DE home.
Coral reefs, fish, a fast boat ride and a picnic lunch Today was a day for everyone to be in the water for lengthy periods of time. I was up and out early for the morning ferry ride to DE to continue recording the dolphins and their interactions. I was able to conduct three sessions – the young boys first, then the ladies – most of them.
Kathleen continued data collection. The BGCA group visited Ardastra Zoo, the Pirate Museum and the Pompei Museum. My (Kathleen’s) day began before sunrise as I prepared to take the early ferry to DE’s island to continue recording dolphin behavior and sounds. I was able to conduct two observation sessions. The morning was in pool 5 with Nina and Lagoona, Dot and Cacique, and Missy.
Meeting Goombay and Andy in the front pools was a delight The following comments are from each member of the group about their first experiences at DE.
Layla: The encounter was nice and I learned a bit more about the dolphins than I knew before. The weather is nice and I am glad I am here. This is a wonderful experience for me and I look forward to bringing it back to my people.
Johanna: This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be in a place like this, in the Bahamas.
Bad weather leads to flight delays and cancellations. Our drive to JFK is met with torrential rain, flooding on the highways, a mudslide on one of the roads just before JFK, horrible traffic, flight delays, a tornado that closed JFK for an hour and more. Amazingly, even the manhole covers on two highways were blown up! We missed one by inches, or so it seemed, as we drove towards JFK.
We leave tomorrow for Nassau & DE Tomorrow we meet the six kids from five BGCA groups that will join us in the Bahamas for our research at Dolphin Encounters (DE). Today and tonight is for packing gear and clothing. And, to be sure that we have all the permits and data sheets copied for travel.
MaryEllen, from the aquarium, is joining me to lead the trip. John is joining us to video-document the trip for the BGCA groups.
Today we cleaned, packed and met the sea lions at DE … met the sea lions! There are 5 females and 1 male sea lions at Dolphin Encounters. They are practicing for meet & greets with guests and the trainers used us for additional practice. We did not mind at all!
Mats and his team also got to participate in a dolphin swim with Soca, Nina and Missy. They were kissed by dolphins and pinnipeds today! Is there any better way to end a successful field season?!
Tonight is packing for airplane travel and our respective returns home.
The morning was filled with data collection, the afternoon with sightseeing. Today was our last day for data collection. I promised John to assist him with a few interviews on camera and Mats, Christer, Josefin and Sofia went to see a bit of Nassau for a couple of hours in the afternoon. They very much enjoyed the Pirate Museum!
We had an exceptionally successful winter session for data collection here at Dolphin Encounters. We used the MVA, MOSART and Pec Pacs, and the new ELVIS system.
I used the MVA and Christer had a couple with MOSART Another day, another dollar, or in this case, 'another data'! We were again able to collect much data and use the MOSART tag in concert with the MVA. Nina and Jake were willing participants and wore the pack well. Jake even kept the pack on throughout the ELVIS session in which he was involved.
It was neat to watch that while Nina wore the pec pac with the tag, her son, Cacique would check her out with echolocation and direct, perpendicular approaches.