Departure at 05:30 and arrival at 23:30 – a very very long day but with good thoughts and memories We gathered more than 13 hours of video and stereo audio data. We gathered about 8 hours of echolocation data and we gathered more than 3 hours of surface audio – i.e., data recorded with an omni-directional hydrophone and a surface audio recorder – during this field season. Definitely a successful season which will keep us busy into the cold months of winter.
In the wee AM hours of Friday, Gracie delivers her son to join the group. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better! With one volunteer, I arrived at the dock about a half hour early to gauge the group behavior and to consult with the trainer on site to determine if we could do a session. We were greeted with a smile and a “Guess What?!” By the trainer’s smile, we then knew that Gracie had had her calf too. Both moms and calves seemed healthy and fine.
During the early AM underwater session – Carmella presents her new calf! You may remember from early field reports that both Carmella and Gracie were pregnant. From ultrasound readings they were predicted to deliver their calves in mid-late October. Well, Carmella delivered this morning! I always do a few minute view at the surface prior to entering the water for a session. Nothing seemed amiss this morning – no additional critters seen. Everything seemed “normal” when I was filming underwater – no extra vocalizations, no posturing or odd behaviors.
Icky is an all-purpose “technical” term for less than 2 m vis with suspended silt We completed the morning session but it is likely that I recorded about 20 min of dolphins in view from a 60 min session. I have gotten my wish – the dolphins mostly ignore me and go about their own business of socializing, playing, resting, etc. The only drawback to this is when the underwater visibility is not good, then it feels like I am swimming in pea soup and can only see when the dolphins are close to me.
Following the swim, we conduct a morning data collection session The smiles almost say it all! Team #2 thoroughly enjoyed their swim with the RIMS dolphins and being underwater brought their sea-grass game to a new level. Geoff and Ron spent a bit of time closer to the sea floor nudging sand and sea grass and they each had a couple of pointy rostrums next to them. Even Mrs. B brought her calf close enough for a few folks to get a good look at him. Mr.
A picnic to Tabyana Beach in the afternoon and then data entry and an evening presentation The morning sessions are easier to handle for our surface observers as the sun is not as high and the temps not as hot nor humid. Everyone did well … though it seems the dolphins still hold several folks at rapt attention.
A morning introduction to the data sheets and protocol … Nine eager individuals have joined us for this third and last week of field work at RIMS for this season, 2004. Four – Dave, David, Lois and April – were with us last year all on the same trip. (They failed the exam at the end of the week and had to come back.) Karen joined me in the Bahamas and Ron participated in Bahamas research and joined me in Japan for some observations of the dolphins.
Saturday is our change-over day this season Today was a light day. I checked out the gear – lubing o-rings and reviewing tapes. I said goodbye to Kristy as she left to return to Florida, reality, and Hurricane Jeanne.
And, I greeted our next team – 9 people who've travelled to help with our data collection.
Two morning sessions and an afternoon physical After a few minutes, he turned his attention to Maury, where it remained for the next 30 minutes. There was relatively little activity this morning, except for Maury and Hector. Paya was still glued to Cedena's side and Rita was with Mrs. Beasly and Mr. French, Alita and Fiona.
Kristy was indoctrinated in MVA4 use, as she was the in-water operator for the second morning session.
Two sessions before 10:30 am Paya has decided not to leave Cedena's or Rita's sides, although he did greet me this morning briefly before rejoining the two adult females. Paya and Esteban usually do the dives, but lately Paya (more interested in the ladies than human dives) has declined to go. Esteban did today's dive and late day show solo.
Besides seeing Paya, I saw everyone this morning, even Carmella (who is very shy), Rita, Mrs. Beasly and her 1 month old calf, Mr. French.