Dolphins should be heard and not seen

Marco? Polo?

I had an early morning boat trip today – in the rain. It was nice and warm both in the water and on the boat, but many hours worth of rain during the morning and the previous night churned up the water. Visibility was terrible. I spent a lot of time treading water and spinning around – searching the distance for a glimpse of the whistling dolphins that I cold hear all around me. But they only rarely swam close enough for me to get a good shot of them. This is one of the reasons that vocal communication is so important to dolphins. Sound travels both farther and faster in water than in air, so the best way to keep in contact with members of your group (if you are a dolphin) is to make some sort of sound; like a whistle. Mix in a bit of echolocation, and it is clear that dolphins have no trouble staying in touch with each other and making their way through the churned up waters around Mikura on a rainy day. Human researchers with fancy cameras are useless in murky water. If only I could echolocate…