An Afternoon on Choppy Seas

Dolphins were resting or snacking on small fish called 'Takabe'

Just leaving the port we encountered our largest swell (~2 m from trough to peak), but we also saw dolphins after passing around the new pier walls and breakwater. There were four other boats out today, with three at this sighting. This dolphin groups was mostly adult females with juveniles (2-3 years old). They were quiet and traveling counter-clockwise around Mikura. We saw them twice, briefly each time. But, we saw some body rubbing, pectoral fin contact and even nursing behavior.

The second group allowed us an even more brief view of ~5 dolphins underwater. A brief head scan and echolocation buzz and they were gone. I doubt my video will have caught enough detail for ID.

The third group of dolphins was more spread out – between Ebiiso and Subarune – and we were with them for the remainder of the day. The dolphins were mostly resting but a few younger (and older) individuals seemed to be snacking on fish around the boulders that were covered with Tosaka. This is a type of red seaweed (sorry I do not know the genus or species name) that grows over the big boulders around Mikura. The seaweed is usually harvested, cleaned, bleached and sold. But, this year is a rest year as there is not enough for a harvest.

We saw (and recorded) the dolphins burrowing their rostra into the seaweed and pulling takabe out. These are small fish that they play with or eat. One juvenile dolphin pulled a few out and ate some but also regurgitated one … The fish was about 3/4 the length of my hand and maybe twice the width of a finger.

Till tomorrow,