Today, during morning data collection, Kathleen was greeted by Champ and several other dolphins who were very curious and playful around her fins. We were treated to a mildly humid day that was sunny. There were lots of pec fin slaps at the surface and some leaps and, also, Ronnie did some ventral up swims! Thank you to Chloe, Morgan, and Izzy for continued data collection for space use with us this morning. After breakfast, we returned to Bailey’s Key to collect space use data associated with an encounter and dolphin swim. After the dolphin swim observations, we went snorkeling on the East side of Bailey’s Key in search of the giant parrotfish that Shane observed in January. Kathleen has searched for this fish in March and now June to no avail. We did, however, collect a bag full trash and saw a trunk fish, a French angel fish, an eel, numerous small fishes, squirrel fish, a long-abandoned ladder, and a wad of sargassum with its load of plastic, much of which we removed. Unfortunately, we did not locate the elusive giant parrotfish. Because we had a delightful snorkel, we were a tad late for lunch, though Bill grabbed a table and was waiting with a smile when we arrived.
The afternoon had Manon and Savanna aboard Bill’s dive boat for a shared aquatic adventure. Bill saw a toadfish with an eel roommate and a mantis shrimp. Manon and Savanna saw a sea turtle and many fish. It was a delightful dive and snorkel for everyone.
Tonight was Fiesta Night and we shared our meal on our porch, which was adjacent to the festivities but with a bit of distance such that we could hear our conversation without shouting. Tomorrow is our second to last data collection session for this trip. We look forward to greeting the dolphins in the morning and hope they feel the same. Until then …
Kathleen, Manon, Savanna & Bill