12 July 2007

Crater Feeding!!

2696
A completely different under water experience
Today we first saw a group of bottlenose dolphins at 1741.  There were at least 7 individuals present, but after a few minutes of observation one of the largest in the group came to the bow, gave two loud exhalations and a forceful tail slap on the surface of the water.  We, along with the crew, decided that we would err on the side of caution & interpret this behavior as one of irritation.  So, we decided to check out the splashes that were in the distance.  Here, we found more bottlenose dolphins who didn’t seem to mind the boat.  It looked like some of the individuals from the first group swam this way & the entire group began to crater feed.  Crater feeding is when dolphins, particularly bottlenose in this area, use their echolocation to investigate critters hiding just below the sand.  Once they’ve discovered something of interest, they turn their bodies upside down, drilling their rostrums into the sand & pulling out their treat!  It is one of the only times we seem to be able to swim with bottlenose dolphins here.  They go about their business of crater feeding while allowing us silly humans to watch.  Today, we were able to observe them under water for 20 minutes!  It will be great photos & video to review!    Until next time,  Kel & Tabby 

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