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.