We had an unexpected morning session. Manon and Kathleen went to the AKR overlook from the old dining room at about 6:30 AM and were pleasantly surprised by what looked like clearing/cleared/good visibility water at Bailey’s Key! So, we decided to give data collection a try. We were not disappointed! While the underwater visibility was not great, it was significantly better than yesterday. And, nearly all the dolphins greeted us at the entry platform! Their “happy new year” greeting delayed Kathleen’s entry, but it was worth the wait. The only dolphins Kathleen did not see underwater were Gracie and French. Kami, Poli, Gizmo, Elli, Stan, Lenca, and Ronnie HAD to say hello with contact and whistles and buzzes. And Buzz buzzed the most!
We collected about 24 min of video and got eyes on everyone’s new rake marks and also confirmed a few new permanent marks for some of the dolphins. Rakes were on everyone – even Kami and Gizmo! – which will make our student group ID sessions maybe a tad easier (😉🤞🏼) in the coming weeks.
We went over to Anthony’s Key before returning to Bailey’s … for Manon to check out the seals in her housing and check out the key more generally. You can that the pool was way too full … and not just because Manon was testing her housing!
We had some rain again later this morning that turned the water to liquid mud again, but it soon moved out with the current through the channel.
Jill went diving today while the rest of us went to Bailey’s before lunch and introduced everyone to some of the dolphins. Several males were in back pools practicing research tasks (i.e., the reading study symbol learning – Stan needs practice!). The nets around the enclosure took a bit of hammering from the winter storm but the dolphins did not seem to mind nor care! More work for the trainers, but at least the rain and wind lessened considerably this afternoon.
The afternoon included time for book reading, a spa treatment (hot stones – aaahhhh), and more dolphin watching. Our team is attending the fish ID lecture before dinner and then we will share a meal on this last day of 2023 and ring in the new year at Roatan Midnight. For those of you unfamiliar with “Roatan Midnight,” that’s ~8:30 PM!! We will greet 2024 with the rising sun tomorrow.
DCP’s first January 2024 ecotour group