Small rolling breakers over the reef & some white caps seen The morning was slow for me with video IDs filling a few hours. Several groups of tourists from a cruise ship visited with the dolphins this morning. So, I gathered data in the early afternoon, just after the dolphins had lunch. The surface was a bit choppy but the underwater visibility remained good. And, the dolphins seemed mildly social with brief interactions between themselves.
We got 20 minutes with the MOSART today! We rigged MOSART tag #1 for Ronnie today. He wore it for the 1st 20 minutes of an hour session. (Again, great visibility!) Latta did not swim with him but stood by on the dock. So Ronnie did not interact with other dolphins as much as he usually does, but Mika and Fiona did come and check his pec unit (his new gaudy “bracelet”). They exchanged a few squawks. Ritchie and Bill did likewise.
It was all I hoped you would be… So, I switched my strategy today: a half hour AM session followed by a 1 hour afternoon session. I was treated to GREAT visibility (10 meters plus) with sun mostly so I could again watch, and identify, dolphins as they played (Ken, Jack, Mr. French, Fiona, Bill, Ronnie), cruised along (Esteban, Hector, Paya, Maury) or circled the periphery of the young (Mrs. Beasley, Alitia, Gracie, Carmella). I’ve seen more of Mrs.
90 minutes of data equals much snorkeling Before I share my day with you, let me share a story. At the end of the day as I took the taxi boat to my room, I saw a young couple run, then embrace with glee. As we got closer I realized this was Sandra and Mattias – their bags (both of them) had arrived! What stories their luggage must have in them. Sandra and Mattias were near tears with joy. They can now dive with their own gear.
Mother Nature Light and Sound Show Our team had a theoretical send off to their last day. Everyone but Sandra and Mattias leaves today – Sandra and Mattias have another week of diving. By 1pm, our team had mostly departed and I was left with a day of maintenance. Laundry, data review, gear review, nap. We had a good week with about 4 hours of video and ECD recordings gathered. Everyone seemed to have a fun and learning time. Not much else to report. I have one more week for data collection.
Or, rather, receives again, today Gracie is not a fan of MOSART – the pec pac maybe. She’ll wear the pac and tag in the back pen, with Jack. But, she slips it off easily when in the main area with all the other dolphins around. Twice I had to retrieve it because she refused. Hmm…I wonder whose behavior is actually being modified?! So I did a half hour session after we played with MOSART for a while. The underwater visibility was still good. The wind was about 10-15 knots thus facilitating choppy water.
…is a good indication of the same action underwater. Once again, I was Ronnie’s chew toy. He actually just mouthed me, or poked me, or bumped me (or the hydrophones). But this was not full session behavior. Maybe he realizes that I’m boring when I have the green camera? The visibility was better but not great. We watched the calves chase each other followed by brief wrestling matches. This action alternated with each calf then being called back to mom. I witnessed, and recorded, much pec fin rubbing and got some good data.
Horrible visibility causes an early end Today also included our team having their second encounter/swim program. Armed with more recognition and information about each dolphin, everyone recognized more individuals and had their own special games (seaweed toss) with the dolphins. I always try to evenly represent the daytime hours in our data collection here at RIMS. Well, almost. The visibility deteriorates throughout the day, usually. But, still, I try at least one late afternoon session. I was lucky to see my hand in front of my face.
Two observation sessions today. No one wore the pec pac this morning, but Ronnie kept up his poking, jawing and prodding. I long for the time when he mostly ignores me again (that is a double-edged sword though). Gracie’s turn was afternoon. She’d become very comfortable with the pac and girdle, but the MOSART tag added about a pound of weight. It is neutrally buoyant but adds drag. This she not like as indicated by my witnessing her strenuous attempts to shake it off.
Kathleen and her crew are at RIMS Everyone made it to RIMS, and are working very hard, collecting LOTS of data, and having a blast!! While Kathleen is writing field reports daily, the internet connection on the island is slow, so they will not be posted until after she returns.