I was able to follow not too closely today because the visibility was still more than 7 m and clear. This allowed me to watch some neat behaviors, of course when Ken was not filling the viewfinder with his body or face! About 20 min into the first session, I was following Bailey and Cedena with Paya, Alita and Anthony all in view, too. Over a shallow (1.5 m) sand patch, Bailey just dropped to the sand and went prone on her belly.
The squall promised to have stirred up the particulate likely leaving even less visibility. The morning began early again, but with a bit of trepidation. Often the rain will cause the visibility to worsen. But, I was pleasantly surprised upon entry to have GREAT visibility – more than 7 meters with hardly any particulate. And, I entered to Cedena, Paya and Bailey near to me … with Ken not far away. I could get a full view of interactions and behavior without being right on top of the dolphins. It was a wonderful session.
Everywhere I went, Ken was sure to follow. Or, he would appear suddenly in the viewfinder obscuring any other dolphins! We began today like yesterday – with a 7 am data collection session. The second session was at 10:30, which was for the best since the underwater visibility had not improved significantly. Ken was my sidekick for most of each session. He spent much time with Mr. French and Jack last year and before the hurricanes, hung out with Mr. French lots. They are both three-year-olds. But, Mr.
An EARLY day, but a good one with bright sun, a breeze and dolphins. The morning was our first official data collection session with our volunteer team at Bailey’s Cay. Roger, Ron, Madison and Dave were up early and raring to go. The breeze kept them cool, the dolphins kept them engaged. They did a great job of filling out our surface observation sheets and documenting where the MVA and I were at 5-minute intervals and also how many dolphins were near (at 1 m intervals) to me.
The all-day picnic for AKR is today with a boat trip to Osgood Cay. We all went on the picnic to Osgood Cay today – the picnic that used to be on the beach at West Bay is now on the AKR cay on the other side of the island. Very beautiful reefs and set up generally. The pool is two circles but with tile design to make it like a fish.
I had one morning session and then prepared to meet our Ecotour Team for 2007. We have 6 volunteer researchers this week to assist Bill and me in our data collection. Roger and Judi arrived at 11 and Ron, Madison, Sharon and Dave arrived at 6 pm. It was fun to greet our team members and get them settled … and then to fill them in on LOTS of data. I love sharing this information with our assistants.
Mrs. B brought her new calf over several times and so did Carmella! My first session was right after the morning feed. If felt good to get back into the water with the MVA. Paya came by to check me out as did Ken. He and Bailey decided it was fun to poke a hydrophone or my elbow or flipper a few times. Sometimes it is very hard not to have any reaction, but when recording their behavior, I’d prefer they ignored me for each other.
My packing day became my travel day. It was like coming home, felt very familiar. Bill was supposed to join me in San Pedro Sula for the final leg but was delayed one day. AKR had evacuated all guests because of Felix's original path. It turns out Felix had other plans and went south. So, I had the place to myself for the day and night!
I connected with Eldon late in the afternoon and joined the trainers for their 3:30 pm session. Mrs. Beasley and Carmella both have new calves! Mrs.
Rita has a new calf and Gracie is due any day! Osgood is off shore of the airport and SSE of the port where the cruise ships dock.AKR owns a portion of the cay and set up a day-stop for short-duration visitors. The sea pool is good-sized and Rita, her calf, Gracie, Fiona, Jack and Mr. French zoomed around frolicking like always.
Gracie is due to deliver any day and Rita's calf is about a week older than Mrs B's calf. Very robust and feisty.
Our final field season for this year begins tonight! Mother Nature was smiling on us this week … or maybe it was Father Neptune? Hurricane Felix moved to the south and once landfall was made, downgraded to a force one storm. There is likely still much rain and wind, but the storm is much less than previously expected. This means that our “on-off-on again” trip is a go.
We have six passengers joining us on Saturday for this season’s ecotour to Roatan. We look forward to reconnecting with the staff and dolphins.