Downgraded to a tropical storm and more northerly. The rain joined the wind late in the morning and stayed for most of the morning. The tropical storm ushered in the rainy season in Japan. June typically is represented by mostly rainy days. Not like the old USA saying 'April showers bring May flowers.' Not sure what the expression is in Japan. I'll have to look into that. The low pressure system is mostly over us with rain or cloudy skies predicted for most of the week.
5-6 hours of watching video … The typhoon was still southwest of us, but the wind and sea conditions kept us in port. No matter because all of us congregated in the Iruka House (dolphin house, where I am staying) and confirmed ID's from three more videotapes. Only 5 tapes remaining … before we gather more data. And, tomorrow will likely include more videotape viewing. It was nice to recognize so many individual dolphins, and review the footage shot. We have more than 6 hours of video and sound data gathered this season.
Our morning trip is aborted due to rough seas and bad lightning. We turn back after getting part way into the dolphin grounds.
Funny, to me, that they call them the dolphin “grounds.” I guess there can be “ground” underwater. Since it is the area where they see them most often and it is a shallow sandy bank; I guess it works.
In our few weeks here, we’ve come to appreciate how Bimini Undersea runs their wild dolphin swim trips.
The foreshadowing of a storm, plus lots of dolphins. But, we had 5 sightings, i.e., five dolphin groups and were able to record about 30 minutes of video. Getting in and out of the boat was not the easiest it could have been, but Masaki and I managed. We did not see #032 (Atokake) and her new calf, but we did see several other dolphins. Several moms with year old or two year old calves. Some sub-adult males and females. The dolphins were inquisitive and playful.
The waves were higher though the sun was out. I must admit that I did not mind not being on the water today. I met some of the boats and passengers who came back and they all said the sea was rough, the underwater visitbility low, and the dolphins not interested. In fact, Kogi and Hasegawa went out on a transect survey for Hasegawa's research and when they neared Yokozukane, they reported waves of ~3 m! Kogi said it was one of the first times he was scared on the water …
Many visitors, guests fill the boats. So far this season, from my first boat trip on 18 May til Friday, I have recorded 12 videotapes of 30 minutes each – 6 hours of video data. I have about the same amount of time recorded with the ECD, echolocation click detector. And, Mai-chan and I have reviewed four of those tapes to confirm ID's of dolphins were have observed. Confirming ID's is the first step when analyzing the data. We have to know who we are watching and observing before it can begin to mean much.
On and in the water again today. But, we saw dolphins and they played a bit with us.
Sometimes marginal weather can be welcome. A day in port allows my body to regain some energy and allows my mind to focus on the data already gathered this week. I like to review the video records and add any thoughts or comments to the data sheets when the swim observations are still fresh in my mind. This helps me remember the interactions and observations when I again review the video later in the fall and winter months. I mentioned light meter measures in yesterday's posting to this site.
Always a lucky number … and today proved no exception. Again, today we traveled only to Subarune, not even that far clock-wise around Mikura Island. We spent the two hour trip with about 40 plus dolphins … not all at once, mind you. The dolphins had other things on their minds today. Today, they were socializing and playing and otherwise engaged in smaller sub-groups of about 4-8 individuals per sub-group. Luckily, the water was warm today (~24°C) because we spent most of the trip in the water. I still managed to record about 20 minutes of video.
LOTS of video – ~50 minutes. The morning trip brought us traveling all the way around Mikura and observing more than 60 different individual dolphins. A few groups were resting and we chose not to spend too much time with them. We did see a group of sub-adult males that seemed to be heading somewhere important. One or two of their group (~12) made a few passes to check out the split-finned creatures (us) but mostly kept on their way. We observed a few mother/calf pairs in the last group observed on the morning trip.