Sunday – our first swim and first data collection for 2011 at RIMS

Our day began EARLY (5 AM) but because it was warm and light, it was ok! The sun makes its daily appearance at about 4:45 AM. Ron, Bill, John and I all sat on the porch and chatted over a strong morning coffee. We also showed each other our new camera toys (ok, mine is still the MVA, but they had new toys).

Our team had a dolphin encounter/swim at 9 AM and got to know Bailey, a 5.5 yr old female. Cedena is Bailey’s and Pigeon’s mom. For the first time since I’ve been visiting here, Cedena was covered in rake marks – her head/melon had them from Alita. And her peduncle was covered from rakes by Hector and Ritchie. Not that I can identify the maker of a rake mark, but the trainers saw the scuffles the dolphins got in that resulted in these rakes. She is really easy to ID from a distance now.

After the swim, Bill, Ron, John and Madison went SCUBA diving – they dove a wall and saw a turtle and lots of fish. Lisa and I got the MVA ready for use after the noon program. The underwater visibility was not great but I spent about 27 min recording the dolphins and seeing them up close. VERY close in some cases. I think almost every one of them (except Carmella and Mrs B) came close for a look to confirm that yes … it was that human with the green tube! Paya appeared out of the haze and just stopped to examine his eyeball in the front plate. Hector was more interested in Maury than me but Ritche and Han made several close inspections. And the 1-2 yr olds were VERY inquisitive and zoomed circles around me.

I look forward to better visibility under water tomorrow for more clear views. While our team was having their encounter, I sketched each dolphin during the training sessions. Mostly I was documenting the detailed rake marks that were new. This way I would increase my underwater recognition of them. Worked pretty well. I still have to make better more complete sketches from the video, but this was a good start.

We’ll collect data before 8 AM tomorrow and then maybe do a dolphin dive. I’ll keep you posted.

Cheers from Roatan!

Kathleen and the 2011 RIMS DCP team