Wednesday was jam packed with activities – all involved formal and informal behavior observations and lots of time in the water. We collected data from the surface while Kathleen collected data underwater during the early morning session. A bright yellow disk made an appearance – the sun came out during the data collection!! It seemed that everyone – dolphins, people and fish included were more energetic and happy with the sun’s appearance.
Ronnie was interactive at the surface with the student research team – he was head slapping and splashing them until he realized that their first laugh was their last. Hector was very inquisitive to Kathleen underwater and rubbed her on several occasions (it’s hard, not impossible, but very hard, to remain objective when a dolphin decides to rub against you!). At the end of the session, Casey, one of the dolphin trainers had arrived, so we all got to have a greet session with the dolphins at the platform as Kathleen got out of the water.
After breakfast, we collected data for our own research projects – only about 1.5 hrs total this morning (compared with 3.5 from the other day) and once done, we snorkeled on the reef just to the west of Bailey’s Key. We saw lots of butterfly, parrot and damsel fishes as well as wrasse. We saw a few needlefish and a few barracuda. The latter gave us all a start and we hid any shiny objects like cameras and rings. The water was shallow and the current strong but the sun was out and the waves down: a great situation for time in the water.
The afternoon included a scuba dive, which was very rough! It was the first boat dive in the tropics for Sarah, Amber and Amanda and the other divers said this was the roughest dive of the day! The evening was rounded out with the island resort fiesta night. We had barbeque on Anthony’s Key and watched hermit crab races, a fire dancer and limbo contest. This was an entertaining end to a very full day!
Tomorrow is our first snorkel with the dolphins.
Kathleen, Amanda, Amber, Kristin, Sarah