Swimming with Dolphins!!

Data collection was conducted partially in the rain this morning! It was just enough rain to make things damp and the data sheets flecked with water. Still, we prevailed. And the morning surface and space use data had a quiet level of activity – i.e., we didn’t see many dolphins. Kathleen said the underwater visibility was a bit silty and vocally the dolphins were quiet but behaviorally they were active … at least Sandy, Stan, and Tank were very social with chases, jawing at each other, and rubbing contact.

We excitedly ate breakfast and then got to the boat early for our return to Bailey’s Key for our dolphin encounter and swim. Ten of us (Kayla, Sarah, Sam, John, Gill, Michael, Emily, Laura2, and Ava) met Bailey during the encounter while Corey, Brooklyn, Claire, Justin, and Manon met Elli. Our swim was beyond expectation and Sandy, Kami, Poli, Buzz, and Alita, Trixie, and Rocky played with all of us. See our impressions just below.

Brooklyn – Today a dolphin handed me a sea shell and I got to play fetch with the dolphin.

Kayla – I kissed a dolphin and I liked it. Didn’t see an agouti yet.

Claire – Shout out to Rocky and Buzz for a really awesome game of catch during our swim.

Sarah – in awe and itchy.

Sam – This is my official announcement that I am going to become one with the dolphins.

John – I am become dolphin fetcher of seaweed.

Gill – I touched the “perfect” dolphin today. She is Alita.

Michael – Our dolphin encounter and swim was very enjoyable. I’ve been super caffeinated all day, maybe a little too much. Excited for tonight’s fiesta.

Emily – Someone bit my fin today, don’t know who. Still much more work to do. Excited to fiesta tonight.

Corey – Competing for title of world’s most nervous dolphin ID guesser.

Laura P. – will Justin participate in limbo? Stay tuned to find out.

Ava – I played fetch with the dolphins today. Such an amazing day.

Laura M. – It was amazing to see the students’ love of dolphins blossom today. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

Justin – Loved the team’s energy during ID practice today. But the highlight was the spontaneous chorus of disappointed “aghs” when the trainer told us it was time to come in.

Manon – Created a crazy play sequence for 6 dolphin with a bamboo stick, while all the students were still putting their fins on.

Our afternoon included a talk on coral restoration from Jennifer followed by a paper discussion, the second interim survey, and a review of the morning video. It was easier to remember Bailey and Elli after meeting them in the morning!

The night wrapped up with Fiesta on the Key where John was the big winner in the Hermit Crab Races! Hurray!

Until tomorrow,

URI’s Agouti Gang