A beautiful day and some inquisitive teenagers
Another boat trip dropped into my lap this afternoon! Most of the weekend tourists headed back on the Sunday afternoon ferry, so there was plenty of free space on the boats to squeeze me and the MVA onboard. It was somewhat sunny today with relatively calm seas (the seas are never calm near Motone – the big rock outcropping on the south side of the island….Motone… Mordor… there is a connection there…).
We found a large group of mixed male and females of all ages circling the island down towards Motone. But they were not interested in interacting. We found another group frolicking in the waves and strong currents out by Numurine. After treading water for a while, we were visited by Joo (#551) and Raiun (#451). Rauin is about 5 years old and Joo is somewhere around 4 or 5. This makes them young dolphin teenagers. They spent quite a long time circle swimming me and the camera. Sometimes I feel that circle swimming can be an aggressive behavior. If it happens in a group of mothers with their calves, I get the subjective impression that it is sometimes done in order to ‘quarantine’ strange objects (like curious researchers). But today it was clear that Joo and Raiun were just having a laugh.
I’ve seen Joo quite a bit this year already – she is destined to turn out to be a regular. This is the first time I have bumped into Raiun. Now Joo is a young female and Raiun is a young male, and they were swimming together all alone. Clearly they were on some sort of adolescent dolphin date – the equivalent of going out to Baskin Robbins for some after school strawberry ice-cream. Perhaps human watching is what dolphin couples consider a ‘safe date’. I am anthropomorphizing of course – the reality is that dolphins do not generally strike up long term pair bonds across genders. Male ‘alliances’ between two or more males are quite common, but you will rarely if ever find a male and female spending all of their time together. The most polite way to put it this: dolphins engage in very brief ‘trysts’ with no long term obligations. I suppose dolphins live in a society that the ‘free love’ movement of the 1960’s would have been proud of. So are Joo and Raiun really dating? Doubtful – but I bet they are trying their best to ‘just be friends’.