Dolphin Swim Day … and also World Environment Day!

We excitedly packed our gear and donned our bathing suits for the early AM data collection because our dolphin encounter and swim were this morning after data and breakfast! The morning data collection was eventful with lots of attention paid to Kathleen’s legs (See Rocky, Tank, Buzz on the backward facing GoPro below!), as well as two snorkelers swimming around the outside of the lagoon and clapping at the dolphins. John and Bill had a co-pilot/feline supervisor for this morning’s flight: Susie kept an eye on the drone as it was landing and made sure the drone returned home safely (see feature photo).

Our dolphin encounter and swim followed breakfast. We split into two groups and met Poli (with Ashley) and Elli (with Cain). You can see our smiling faces in our group shots below just before we finished the encounter and put on gear and swam with them in the main lagoon. Kami and Gizmo were playful with almost all of us. Sandy swam in and around us also. We had a full group swim with Ronnie, Tilly, Alita, Buzz, and Gracie with Trixie and we could see their interactions even though the underwater visibility was not great.


Before lunch, we viewed the morning video and practiced dolphin IDs and then after lunch we learned about Coral Restoration from Jennifer. She shared with us that the reef restoration is focused on elkhorn and staghorn coral growth in the AKR/RIMS nursery. After coral, we did our second interim survey, watched the drone footage, and did a short Q&A on our projects with Dr. Kanatous.

Once that was done, we played the first edition of DCP’s AKR/RIMS Jeopardy game! It was fun and informative and Gabby won the coveted DCP tote! Here are our thoughts from today:

Paige – I liked the dolphin kisses (during the encounter).

Gabby – I thought it was really cool seeing the dolphin behaviors in person compared to on TV.

Holly – I enjoyed seeing Elli do a front flip.

Maeley – I finally learned how to properly clear out my snorkel; therefore, it was a successful dolphin encounter day.

Lauren – It was exciting to see the dolphins from under the water rather than at the surface.

Bella – Finally got to cross off swimming with dolphins from my bucket list. It was better than I imagined.

Olivia – Gizmo and I played catch with a seashell. I think she won.

Sara – It was an incredible feeling of being a part of the dolphin pod.

Nick – It was really exciting watching the dolphins swim circles around me.

Daniel – It was fun seeing how quickly and quietly the dolphins could just randomly show up when we swam with them.

Eli – It was fun watching the dolphins play with my flippers.

Traci – Poli gifted me a rock and I almost cried from happiness.

Madi – It’s incredible how many sounds you can hear from the dolphins when you are swimming with them as compared to when you observe them from above.

Manon – Kami stole my toy.

Bill – I’m diving.

John – Another on time arrival by Dolphin Air, with Susie’s support!

Shane – It was a lot of fun seeing all the joy the dolphins brought the students during the dolphin swim. Fiesta Night!

Tomorrow brings us 2-3 boat snorkels, including the night snorkel. Stay tuned!


CSU Rams Mother Flippers (MF-ers)


P.S. Fiesta night is still ongoing as this blog is posted. So, if we have any CSU contest winners, we’ll update you in tomorrow’s blog!