We had our third day of strong winds and choppy seas. The ferry boat ride from Paradise Island to Blue Lagoon Island was spray filled from the sea and the last bit of the trek was choppy as we passed through the cut.

Our first view into the pools showed a much decreased underwater visibility. Thus, we did not get wet today. Instead, we reviewed some computer files for grant applications and for papers. We also took a walk around the island while attempting not to be sand-blasted by the wind strewn sand! 

Today was our last day at DE for 2010. We collected 5 hrs of video of dolphins and ten min of video of the sea lions. A very productive trip!

We'll share more of a summary in our next issue of the Dolphin Gazette (due out in late November).


Kathleen & Kel

On Saturday evening we enjoyed a great meal with Nassau/Dolphin Encounters friends and after getting home, we promptly reset our clocks so as not to miss the early morning ferry. Once arriving at DE on Sunday morning, we had a 20 minute session with "the ladies": Princess, Laguna, Gussie Mae, Nina & calf and Chippy & calf. Unfortunately, the underwater visibility was not very good, making video collection a challenge. We did get some good passes from all seven dolphins. This included Laguna and Gussie Mae, who we had not previously recorded this trip.
The afternoon was spent observing the animals from the surface and catching up on computer tasks. In the afternoon we took a break from dolphins and spent some time with DE's California sea lions. We saw the 5 month old pups and got up close and personal with Murray, a 24-year old male. We also got some close contact with PJ, one of the mother sea lions. AfterwardKathleen, Kel, Radhika, Murray, Taurean, we entered the water with the MVA to collect some video and briefly observe the animals underwater. It was cool change of pace for us, the dolphin researchers!
Tomorrow is our final day before we leave Nassau. Hope it's a good a day!
Until then,
Kathleen & Kel

The wind howled last night and brought a morning with extremely limited underwater visibility. It would be difficult to collect underwater video with behavioral information when you could not actually see the dolphins at more than 3 ft away. So, we reviewed some data and some results and took a short walk around the island.

On our walk, we saw the rebounding mangroves planted and also an unidentified species (we focus on the mammals and are less skilled identifying bird species) of heron nesting in one secluded area of mangroves. We also spent several minutes watching a night hawk roosting in a tall swaying tree. 

The wind lessened as the afternoon progressed and we are optimistic for more data collection tomorrow.


Kathleen & Kel

On Thursday evening Kelly joined me in Nassau and we were all up bright and early on Friday for the first ferry to Blue Lagoon Island. Once Kel was reintroduced to folks and shown the numerous improvements to the facility, it was time to get to work. The first session was with Jake, Shawn and Goombay. The session was slightly delayed as staff donned SCUBA gear to collect the wayward sea turtle, "Lucky" who has taken up residency at DE, but somehow found her way into the dolphin's enclosure. (The tide was really high in the night!) The 30 minute data collection session was successful, with lots of ventral-up swimming and whistling from all three males.
Our second session, 20 minutes long, included the moms and calves: Chippy and calf and Nina and calf. We were able to confirm that Chippy's calf is indeed female! The moms seemed to be getting a bit more comfortable with the MVA (and researcher) in the water as they passed by the camera several more times today than Tuesday. Our third and final session of the day was the largest group, including Auntie V, Stormy, Soca, Dot and Miss Merlin. Visibility was decreasing, but we still recorded a quality 30 minutes of data.
The afternoon was spent assisting staff with other projects and getting in some good DCP brainstorming. More to field reports to come this weekend!
Until then,
Kathleen & Kel

I was in the water twice today! Both sessions were again with Stormy, Miss Merlin, Soca, Aunty V and Dot. The afternoon also had Abaco with these four dolphins. The morning brought great underwater visibility and social dolphins. The afternoon session provided more!

Ultrasound examination done in the morning revealed that Abaco is cycling and Stormy took notice! He was very attentive and also in a very amorous mood. Soca was also very tactile to Abaco and was rubbing her melon against Abaco's side and belly.
With only two sessions, I was able to record about 60 min of data - an excellent day!

The afternoon brought a rain shower, but tomorrow is supposed to be nice - warm and sunny.
Until then,

P.S. Kel, from Bimini, will be arriving tonight to join me for 4 days of data collection ...

The morning brought me a single session of about 30 minutes with Soca, Aunty V, Dot, Miss Merlin and Stormy. They were very interactive with one another and quite vocal - I recorded several whistles and clicks --- the latter mostly directed at me it seemed!

It was one of the longer sessions and the underwater visibility was quite good at about 4 meters with minimal silt.

My afternoon was spent visiting a colleague at the College of the Bahamas, Radhika Makecha. I gave a lecture on dolphin communication and cognition to her introductory psychology class. It was fun to be able to share some of DCP's research results with Bahamian students!

Tomorrow brings more data collection.
Until then,

Monday was our day of travel to get from Connecticut to The Bahamas. For once, we did not have a flight before dawn! We left for the airport in 36 F temps and arrived to Nassau in 86 F temps! A wonderful way to start the 2010 data collection session at DE.

While we arrived yesterday, today, Tuesday, was our first day observing the dolphins and it started with a bang! Four sessions of data collection for almost 1.5 hrs of data! We arrived to Blue Lagoon Island, home of the DE dolphins, on the 8:30 ferry and I was in the water by 10:45! My first session was with Jake, Shawn and Goombay - three males. Jake is not interested in me or the camera and so I only saw him a few times under water. Shawn was mildly curious and made several passes but also seemed to catch my attention when Goombay most wanted to investigate my fins! It was a minor tag team event. I spent 22 min observing and recording these three and then went directly to the second pool to observe the four young boys.

Andy, Salvador, Cacique and Clifton were together in pool 1. They were not as nonchalant with me as the older males. For about 2-3 minutes they were a squadron of dolphins buzzing me and speed swimming by me. Then, they relaxed a bit - almost as if they realized that I was not a threat but more an oddity. Clifton is the youngest male but not as raked as Cacique ... it was easy to see that they can rough-house with each other when left to their own devices!

My second two entries were with females - first with Princess and Abaco who were also not interested but checked me out via echolocation while remaining just at the edge of my visibility. I am not sure how they do that ... but it seems purposeful to me. They can hang just to the point where I can see them, but they are blurs on the camera! It must be my motion or behavior that they study! Then, after 12 min with them, I was able to observe two new mom/calf pairs. Chippy and her calf and Nina and her calf.

Chippy kept her month-old calf nearby and was more cautious of me when she swam by. Nina on the other hand showed off her calf ... almost a "see what I made!" I was honored to be able to see them close up underwater.

A spectacular way to begin this week of data collection.

I'll post more tomorrow ... and will be observing as much as possible.



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