Terrible weather brings us a new baby… maybe…
Now that it is rainy and cold and the seas are choppy once again, the dolphins have come back out in force! I had an early afternoon boat trip. The boat was filled with very excited passengers – this was their frist dolphin swim experience, and they erupted in shouts as soon as we spotted the first dorsal fin breaking the surface. We followed an enormous group of female dolphins and their calves around the west side of the island. They seemed to be heading in one specific direction, but not too hastily. Some of the juveniles came to check us out, including Kitte (#450) little daughter of Shiromayuge (#035 ). “Kitte” comes from the Japanese word meaning ‘to cut’, and as you can see from the picture of Kitte above, she has been called this because her left pectoral fin looks like it has been sawed off at the tip – perfectly straight. Who knows how she managed to do this to herself. Do dolphins play with knives? Unlikely. I’ve also included a pic of a mother and her new calf. I am not sure yet if this is a new mother, or if this is #081 whom we had seen a few days ago with a newborn. If you look really really hard at the picture, you can see thin vertical white lines just below the dorsal fin of the calf. These are the ‘fetal folds’ – little wrinkles in her skin that come from being folded up inside her mother while she is still in the womb. They can still be seen on the calves for a few months after they are born, and are a sure sign that you are looking at a very young dolphin!
Although this group was not overly curious about us today, I still came away with lots of footage of dolphins that will surely yield plenty of new IDs for this year. Now I can start the long process of analyzing the latest video tape. 5 dolphin trips already! Things are certainly moving right along… I think this will be a successful season!