It was the most beautiful day so far this week because the sun greeted us as we took the taxi boat to Bailey’s Cay! We did a full 30 min observation session despite the very strong current and the cheeky, rambunctious dolphins. The dolphins were very active today; they were very social at the surface also. We did pretty well recognizing the dolphins who swam by our observation posts.
After dolphin observations, we had a scrumptious breakfast followed by a data analysis session where we taught Kathleen how to use “BORIS,” a behavioral coding software. It was relatively straightforward and user-friendly for documenting both state and point event samples. Justin and Kathleen took pity on the fact that we’d not had much sun all week. So, they gave us an hour before lunch to soak up the sun!
We had a great lunch (cheese pizza, cheeseburgers, and sea bass). After lunch, we went back to Bailey’s Cay to observe training sessions. We divvied up into four groups of 3 and each group had a different trainer and dolphin. Kianna, Hannah and Gabby hung out with Gracie and her trainer. Gracie gave them hugs and kisses and was showing off to Alita by doing behaviors that Alita was learning … so a case of observational learning. Sam, Becky, and Erin sat with Eldon who was training Stan and Dory. Dory was a bit pushy and swam around while Stan was trying to do the behaviors Eldon asked. Stan and Dory are classic toddlers with huge amounts of energy. Chloe, Kendall, and Lauren observed Elyork as he spent time with Bailey and her calf and also Mrs. Beasley and Carmella. Elyork was letting the calf know that fish from him was ok and was introducing him to targeting. Mrs. Beasley and Carmella had light sessions and mostly hung out. Jess, Liz, and Danielle got to watch Zachary, Cain and Nick work with Calli and Elli. Calli was practicing husbandry procedures and we got to see her remora up close! We also noticed new rake marks on Calli’s right side near her pec fin.
We had the afternoon to ourselves (all 2.5 hrs!) to explore Bailey’s and Anthony’s Cay. A few of us rode horses while a few others showered, read, visited the beach and contemplated the paddle boards. Our evening has wrapped up with a rowdy discussion on animal welfare and the issues around captivity. We are writing our blog before dinner so we can have a leisurely meal and enjoy our last evening on Roatan at AKR!
Tomorrow, we head home. It’s been a radical, unforgettable week.
Kathleen, Justin and the URI MMPB team