A busy weekend here on Mikura – but lots of dolphins
IMAGE: A picture of the Miyama Kuwagata beetle – found only on Mikura!
We went out this morning with Ichiro-sensei – a retired school worker who spends his days fishing. He was nice enough to offer me and another researcher space on his boat. Today he was out on the water doing a survey of all the dolphin watching boats – counting passengers, etc. There were over 130 visitors to the island today – that is more than half of the population of the island itself, so the boats were filled to capacity. It was packed out there on the water, but the dolphins did not seem to mind. We managed to get a good 20 minutes of quality video and some really close encounters from a few groups. We witnessed some mating behavior as well as two juveniles having a bit of a fight. There was biting and chasing and all sorts of charging involved. We tried to stay out of the way.
Dolphin #060, Kanzashinko, has a juvenile calf that has not yet been named who is, for lack of a better description, a total nut job. I saw her yesterday and today, and each time we run into each other she is totally MANIC. She loves the camera, will swim around me as fast as possible, and spends a lot of her time upside down pelting me with echolocation bursts. She will move in and out of view like an overexcited Chihuahua. Her mom on the other hand swims lazily around is does not appear to get excited by anything. The crazy juvenile has some weird scarring on her belly that might be from a shark bite. Knowing her, she probably went up to a tiger shark and started taunting it with her crazy antics, before the shark got fed up and gave her a good chomp.