A day of rest

John arrived to help with documentation Today we rested and reviewed videos. We made room for John's gear and clothing. We also planned out some of the week's activities. Monday and Wednesday will have us conducting ECC directivity tests.

We'll ask the dolphins to swim at Kathleen and the MVA3 while Robin and John videotape from above (likely from the tower).

Team #1 of Volunteer Researchers departs

After having helped gather more than 10 hours of data For Kathleen:
There is a lady scientist by the name of Kathleen
Who videos dolphins with her array of green.
Now – KD – she's not like most scientists you see
She enjoys educating people like you and me.
So off goes a group to Honduras
All of them very curious.
To work with KD on data sheets
Recording whistles and bubbles and some strange bleats.
All agree, working with Kathleen is very unique
And learning so much from her unique t

Last day for Team #1’s data collection assistance

Horseback riding, botanical gardens, and Coxen Hole The day began with some of us hopping on horseback for a bouncy tour of Sandy Bay. We realized, after an enjoyable ride, that snorkeling and horseback riding require different muscle groups. (Thanks goodness!)

One adventurous soul climbed Carambola Mountain (~20 min hike) and visited the botanical gardens while others taxi'd to Coxen Hole, Roatan's capitol. The latter group soaked up culture and souvenirs prior to out afternoon sun-fry, better known as research and data collection.

They’re eating the eel grass!

Two half hour observation periods Today was your average tedious research day – lots of data collection of barely sociable dolphins and a few hours of analysis. We are getting more familiar with the dolphin ID marks and scars especially during our second beach encounter and swim (all before today's research sessions).

Since we were the only 6 guests, we were paired up per dolphin.

Bright & Early Observations

In the water & on the dock by 6:55 am We were all at Bailey's Key by 6:45 am and feeling more comfortable with our research assistant jobs. From the tower, we note at 5 min intervals where the MVA3 (KD & her array) are in the pen. We've sectioned the pen into 5 areas with imaginary lines. Then we note how many dolphins are within 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 meters of Kathleen.

The research continues

Second full day of data collection and observations Our morning presented a trainer-contact session during which Binti and April learned to time and document all contacts (touches/rubs) between a trainer and dolphin (during 5 min scans). One person watches a dolphin/trainer pair and dictates contacts to the recorder. The other times them and another records the contacts. Robin and Kathleen do this as a pair.

Our volunteers’ first dolphin encounter and swim

And first delve into data documentation During this week, Joane, April, Dave, David, Lois, Binti will be helping with our field reports as well as their normal duties of data collection, analyses, and general observation-making. Next are their thoughts on the dolphins and our research:

The dolphins are cooperative, graceful and want to play with us. They accepted us in their environment and let us swim among them. It was an awesome experience! Like being in another world. Words seem to have failed all of our volunteers. They have a glassy-eyed look …

Getting to know the methods

Meeting the dolphins and Kathleen's array Of course, the first order of business (after breakfast) was to meet the dolphins at Bailey's Key. There are 16 dolphins. We went to the key for the morning session and introduced all our volunteer researchers (Joane, Binti, Lois, April, David, Dave) to the data forms. The competition for attention was fierce – the dolphins won over Kathleen & Robin. (But, we reviewed the forms later without dolphin commentary.)

After the dolphins, we took the MVA3 out for everyone to try.

Data Analyses, Summaries & Preparation

Volunteer Researchers/Ecotourists Arrive Today was slow – no underwater observation and no visit to Bailey's Key. We did watch the dolphins at the RIMS area. We even were able to help the trainers for these 6 dolphins by remaining stationary in the water for the dolphins or letting them practice behaviors with us. Definite rewards for us researchers!!

Participants arrive in two groups to help us with data collection and preliminary analyses.

Three underwater sessions all before noon!

Much social rubbing and some fighting It seemed that tension filled the water. Mateo joined our group (under observation) the previous day and he was the focus of attention for Buster, BigBoy and Bill. After about ten minutes, Tela and Mika (both young females) swam at the male group aggressively. Much head-to-head and right angle posturing followed. At one point, BigBoy tailslapped Tela on her melon (it sounded and looked like an 'ouch'!).

In our second underwater observation, the roles seemed reversed with Mateo rubbing and pushing at Tela, BigBoy and Buster.