16 January 2020

Dolphins, Snorkeling, and Fiesta Night!

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Our morning data collection was rain-free! It was quite pleasant to watch the dolphins as the sun came over the mountain behind us. The dolphins were very social and Sandy and Calli were near the surface rolling and playing often. Everyone was much more centered and focused when collecting the space use observational data, also. The activity levels were more clear and confirming numbers of dolphins in each area was more reliable for us. We even took a group photo while waiting for the water taxi (see the blog front photo)!

We made our way over to breakfast after this data collection session and were very pleased that the rain held off until we were almost done eating. The dining room is open air but covered … so it was lovely to be dry while watching the rain this morning! And, after breakfast we watched the video from this morning and practiced recognizing the various rake marks and other scars on the dolphins to be able to confirm who was who! We are relatively good and recognizing Champ and Ronnie … getting there on others!

Thankfully the rain subsided while we watched the video so that we could spend almost 2 hours back at Bailey’s key collecting more space use data! The encounter was smaller than the other day so we could focus on one dolphin. The same was true for the swim and since the water was calm, we had an easier time of following dolphins near to the dock.

Lunch preceded our discussion of rake marks as evidence of social exchanges among dolphins and our afternoon boat snorkel. The boat ride was about 5-10 min toward the west end of Roatan. The swells were rolling but the sea was mostly calm and the rain squall went more out to sea so the only way we got wet was when we jumped into the water! We saw a sea turtle, a puffer fish and a large sea cucumber! Our snorkeling was a drift snorkel, which meant we could float with the current and the boat would pick us up. The clear water and numerous fishes made for an excellent time!

We had a bit of free time this afternoon to shower and get ready for fiesta night. This is dinner on the key buffet and picnic style with celebratory events. We watched an example of Garifuna dancers and participated in the hermit crab races, limbo, and dancing. Drum roll please!!! URI placed well tonight!! Coral won the free 30-minute massage from the AKR spa! And, Katrina selected hermit crab #33 and won the crab races tonight! Woohoo and congrats to our URI team!

Tomorrow is another data collection session and we have our in-water snorkel meet and greet with the dolphins!!

Cheers

Kathleen & the URI team!

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Dolphin Communication Project
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