Thursday (14 May) – An early start and longer session provides much data

Our team woke early so I could enter the water before 6:30 AM today. We had good light levels and little wind. The water was not as clear as yesterday but the action was just as good. French and Ken decided early on this morning that I made a grand toy – for about 5 minutes. They poked at the hydrophones with their rostrums (beaks). They poked at me with their rostrums, flippers and bodies. It was very hard not to react … but I did not react … I want them to ignore me so I can record what they do with each other. They were persistent, but I think maybe I am a bit more stubborn. They tried a few more times later in the session to get me to play, but mostly hung out with each other.

I also watched as Fiona, Bailey and Maury rubbed and caressed one another. At one point, Mike and Maury (okay and just about every other dolphin there) were whistling and emitting bubbles from their blowholes! It got rather loud underwater. Then, I watched as Mika, Gracie and Alita swam toward the shallow water area and Mika gently lay down on the sea bottom. She stayed there for about a minute while the other females rubbed her body with their rostrums.

At the end of each session, I put my array (greenMVA camera and housing) onto the floating blue platform before I exit the water. I wait for 30 or 60 seconds to say thank you to the dolphins. This is also my way of letting them know that I’ll play a bit when the camera is not in the water and that the camera means I am working. Almost all of the dolphins came by before I exited (after the camera was out) today! Even CedeƱa brought me a leaf to play with … passing it back to me when I let it float back to her. Very cool!

We tried another data collection session this afternoon but the underwater visibility was quite bad. When filming dolphins, if a dolphin is directly in front of the camera lens and you have the flukes closest to you and you cannot see the animal’s rostrum (mouth), then you know the visibility is bad (icky is the field technical term!). I recorded for about 3 minutes and then stopped.
Until tomorrow,