Where do the dolphins go at night?  A boat trip and some extracurricular activity

We had a nice early morning boat trip today. It was warm and sunny in port and only slightly less so out on the water. A great day for dolphin watching! The sea was teeming with delphinid life! Tons of old favorites stopped by for a look including #404 and #161. Lots of great video! I am not sure if this will be my very last trip of the season, but it might be. If so, I have no regrets! It was a great way to end the season. I also headed up to the school for my last English lessons. The 9th graders will head out to Tokyo to begin high-school off the island, so this was my last chance to sit in on a class with them! Kind of sad… I also headed out for some extracurricular research in the evening. There is a researcher and friend visiting the island who is studying dolphin acoustics. He brought with him 4 buoys with hydrophones attached. We spent the evening anchoring the buoys around the island so the hydrophones could record dolphin sounds (whistles and echolocation) overnight. He is trying to find the answer to what should be a simple question: where do the dolphins go at night? In fact, it is a terribly difficult question to answer. By listening to the recordings, he will be able to tell if the dolphins stick close to the island or head out to deeper waters at night. We simply have no idea! Consider the fact that I might get to record what a dolphin is up to for about 2 minutes of his/her day during my swim encounters, which leaves another 23 hours and 58 minutes unaccounted for. What do dolphins do with the rest of their time? Are they building condominiums on the sea floor? Are they taking piccolo lessons? Are they playing Texas Holdem? We simply have no idea. At least after tomorrow, we will know where they are (approximately) at night. That is part of the mystery solved.

So I leave for Tokyo tomorrow on the afternoon ferry to meet my wife at the airport. I’ll be back on the 19th to wrap up the season – pack gear and say my goodbyes. Wish me luck… I will have to come face to face with Darth Ferry yet again…

-Justin

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