Atokake mikura dolphin white rostrum tip

IMAGE: #032 Atokake – ready for a smooch!

I was a bit wobbly when I woke up this morning. My sleeping habits are still out of whack which does not help with the fitness thing. The research can sometimes feel like triathlon training – carrying heavy awkward equipment up and down a mountainside interspersed with frantic swimming episodes. But even though I was tired, today turned out to be a perfect little day. The passengers on our boat were a lot of fun, the water was very very calm (for Mikura), there was no wind and even a bit of sunshine. We found a huge mix of subgroups milling off the eastern shore, comprised of almost all females with their calves and juveniles. The vast majority of them were not interested in us or the other dolphin watching boats that converged on this area, but a few curious fellows did stick around. #032 (Atokake) made a point of hanging around us for quite some time. She is a funny old dolphin – fairly famous as far as Mikura dolphins go. She is easily recognizable thanks to a huge chunk missing from the trailing edge of her dorsal fin, her dark gray color, and her shining white lips! Well OK, she might not have lips per se, but the tip of her rostrum is white from years of scraping it against rock and sand while foraging for fish. It gives her the appearance of a permanent pucker – as if she were about to swim up to you and give you a big sloppy kiss. She has always had an interest in snorkelers, and today was no exception. She swam lazily around the group inspecting each on of us in turn.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day so I hope to be out on the water again. In the mean time, I am going to try to get some rest!