Subadult social!

An unsupervised party rages on under the waves

Today was sunny but chilly. The water was oh so cold! I shiver just thinking about it. But every time I catch myself wishing that I was in the Bahamas, swimming around in the warm waters off of Bimini, I quickly remind myself that you simply can’t beat the Mikura dolphins! I am constantly surprised by the crazy things these guys get up to, and their total lack of fear (and interest usually) of the humans that crop up in their path. To a dolphin, I am nothing more than a strange seaweed-like animal with a very odd metal box thing for a head that they can’t quite figure out. Today I was absorbed in a massive group of ~25 subadults who were pushing and shoving each other to get a better look at me and the MVA. I am lucky that they find the camera so interesting – it goes a long way in helping to collect useful video of dolphin behavior. Today, for example, this giant group of subadults (older dolphin teenagers) was involved in some very rambunctious play-fighting. They were packed together like a can of sardines; writhing all over each other, biting and rubbing and who knows what else. I generally try not to get caught up in the middle of thins kind of behavior – it is somewhere between play and aggression with a bit of sexual activity mixed in; not exactly the kind of thing I want to be personally involved in. But today’s group seemed more than happy to have me in the middle of all this for a while – I ended up getting mostly useless close-up shots of dolphin eyeballs and dorsal fins. They were too close really. It was fun to see none the less. And hear! These guys are really loud when they are socializing – whistles and creaks and pops and all sorts of bizarre clicking sounds. There is one stereotypical creaking sound that always seems to accompany this sort of social/sexual play – whenever I hear it, I know to keep my distance. Another successful day! I have had a streak of boat trips – 9 days in a row and counting. That gives me just shy of 1 boat trip for every full day I have been on the island! Wow! No wonder I am so tired that I want to go to bed at 9:30 PM. Good night!