The morning dawned calm with a slight breeze and I experienced a mild current and good visibility underwater. I was a happy dolphin researcher! Ron was also happy to stay dry while logging surface observations. And, there was much social activity above the water, as well as below the surface this morning! Of course, Lenca, Stan, Champ, and Tank repeated their fascination with my fins but I was VERY surprised by Ronnie’s behavior early in the first morning session! Ronnie seemed to get agitated with Stan when the latter was pulling at my fins. So much so that Ronnie chased Stan away from me and then swam a circle around me … almost as if to say “there, you’ve a few minutes of peace!” Of course, I am being very anthropomorphic with that sentiment. But, if you’ve followed along with my blogs from RIMS over the years, you will know that Ronnie has always been fascinated by my fins … until this session! Ronnie and Ritchie spent the remainder of the morning following Gracie. The photo you see is of Ritchie (left) and Ronnie (right) behind Stan, who is looking at me! (i.e., pre-chase!)
This morning also brought two intriguing observations of Tilly. The first had her contort in the water and “kick at the water” somewhat close to a shallow coral head – cavitating a few tiny air bubbles from the water. She did this a few times and, at the last one, I saw what might have been “fish bits” (I need to check the video to be sure.) Along with this same type of behavior, Tilly and Sandy were “puffing” water at a different coral head to push at the fish, or so it seemed. I shared those observations with Teri and she said that Tilly and Sandy like to hunt for crabs and tiny fish. It was a hoot! The second observation of Tilly was about 2/3 through the first morning session and I noticed a dolphin up-side-down at the surface and slapping her right pec fin on the surface. Ron noted this action too and I was able to confirm that it was Tilly … and she swam about 100 m from one side of the lagoon toward the other doing this behavior! No idea why but she finished and swam back by me underwater with Sandy above her. Very cool!
Ron did the early afternoon dive again while I transferred footage and reviewed some of the clips. I also got a chance to briefly chat with Teri about our research plans and we’ll continue that conversation a bit each day this week. And, the sun made more of an appearance this afternoon requiring me to apply sunblock! Hurray!!
Tomorrow morning will start with our sixth underwater data collection session. My fingers are crossed for continued good underwater visibility and calm seas, as well as socializing dolphins who might consider ignoring me!
Kathleen & Ron