Social dolphins that include Kathleen in their group, so to speak.
It doesn't get much better than what today offered in terms of dolphins, dolphin behavior and data gathered. All factors came together to facilitate mucho observations. We used the research boat with Kogi, Hasegawa and me only. Kogi and Hasegawa were making only surface observations while I was recording dolphins underwater (when possible). Yes, I was the only underwater observer for the entire trip. This is a first for my time studying the dolphins around Mikura. And, I must admit I was a bit spoiled by it. I had 5 entries but shot more than 30 minutes of data. The first entry was 1 mom with a ~2 year old calf … and 6 sub-adult males. They seemed interested in mating with the adult female but the activity was not very aggressive. Slow swimming and curiosity. I observed them for ~6 minutes. We were within 2 m of shore and less than 2 m depth. My next entry was with first 5 sub-adult females followed by 20+ more dolphins 3 minutes later. My first impression was 'swarm' they were spread out, in subgroups of 3-4 individuals. They were very inquisitive and curious and playful. Soon they werer all around me. It was hard to get the 'big picture' of their activity when they were so close … at times even rubbing against me! The most amazing interaction happened with a sub-adult female – she actually mouthed my fin tip!! This is a first. The behaviors I witnessed could have been aggressive, but seemed more like play invitations. They hung around for more than 12 minutes seeming to keep me within the activity. I will have fun reviewing this video! Till tomorrow. Kathleen