Resting Dolphins

Long surface intervals, non-interactive.

Our afternoon trip for today was suddenly pushed up by two hours to 11:00 AM. The wind and sea conditions were deteriorating, i.e., getting bad. There was an abundance of cumulo-nimbus clouds (rain clouds) hanging low over our heads. The 'Uneri' (sea swell) was 1.0 to 1.5 meters high with a bit of chop on it. Just passable conditions for heading out to look for and observe dolphins. We went. We saw three sub-groups of 10-15 dolphins each – originally near-to-shore at Urane, another more off-shore and then a group just before Yokozukane (at Kurosaki). Some of the smaller, younger dolphins seemed to be surfing the swells, slicing cleanly through each 'uneri'. The adults and sub-adults wanted nothing to do with our (or two other) boat. And when we entered the water near to them, they swam by us mostly ignoring our presence … gliding silenty along to bottom or at mid-water column. After about 45 minutes, I watched only from the surface … so as to not disturb this rest pattern. During rest, the dolphins out here will often move repeatedly back & forth along a section of Mikura's coastline. Today, the three sub-groups joined together after we were observing for about 45 minutes. A brief bit (~10 min) of social behavior ensued follwed by a return to rest patterns. There were again three sub-groups but it is difficult to know if membership remained constant with that of the pre-joined grouping. Over the next month or so, I'll use a few field report entries to provide information on other behavioral states of the dolphins as observed out here around Mikura. Hope you all have a great weekend! cheers kathleen