New Life

Another young dolphin arrives in this world  boats at mikura island IMAGE: boats at the pier

I am not sure if I am just getting old, or if the weather out here seems much colder and harsher than I remember. In my mind, I picture Mikura as a warm, humid, almost tropical island filled with sun, sandals and t-shirts. Perhaps my advanced years (early 30s) are bringing with them a touch of senility. The reality is that I am wearing all the pieces of neoprene that I can get my hands on, and I am still unable to think straight after I jump overboard and the freezing Mikura water floods my wetsuit. This morning’s trip brought with it a chilly wind that took a few years off me. But it was worth it. I spotted a newborn baby dolphin out by Kawaguchitaki. The mother was dolphin #001 (Kuchizure) – the very first dolphin on Mikura to receive a name and number. This is because of her easily recognizable jaw deformity- her upper and lower jaws don’t overlap properly, resulting in her rostrum being twisted like a corkscrew. Kuchizure is a rather old dolphin (older than I am for sure), and we didn’t really expect to see her with a calf in tow. But she swam by me today with a neonate that is likely 1 or 2 days old – I had seen her just 3 days ago without a neonate. It is a pleasant surprise to be sure! Maybe even the little calf thinks the water is cold around Mikura – their little bodies are not as well insulated against the cold as the larger dolphins. This is why many whale species make their way to warmer waters to give birth to their young calves – to protect them from cold waters. Perhaps I can loan the calf a pair of gloves? Or perhaps that is not such a great idea since dolphins don’t have hands.. See, I told you senility was setting in…