The dolphins have no concept of “personal space”! Or maybe they did not think I needed any as they were all over me and around me during the first 30 minute session this morning. The cacophony of sound was intense and filled with whistles, click trains and some odd squawk-like sounds that were not aggressive. Maury leaped over me or next to me several times. She and Gracie both like to impose their bodies into my space … sort of an intimidation pose. 

It took me the full session but once I was done I began to recognize the individual scars and marks. Ronnie has a new little notch in his dorsal fin. Anthony has lots of spots on his belly and rakes along his peduncle. Dixon and Margarita were hard at first to ID, but the fact that Dixon is male and Marg is female helped narrow my choices. I did not see Carmella on this entry … but everyone else made an appearance. Some individuals even poked at or pushed at me. But, generally, they were behaving normally. Neat to see and I am working on sketches this afternoon.
More data collection on Saturday morning … and then we greet our eco-tour participants. We have 4 people joining us to help with data collection and preliminary processing.

Bill S. has been helping to coordinate the DCP eco-tours for 6 or 7 years now. He and I met up at IAH airport in Houston and traveled together to Roatan. Our flight was delayed about an hour but that was fine with us as we are now on island time. Everything is “ish”. We were greeted with high humidity and temps upward of 91F.

We got to Roatan and Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) by about 2 pm and I was out to Bailey’s Cay visiting the dolphins and trainers for the late afternoon program by 2:30. It was neat to see the new faces of some of the trainers, but even better to be greeted by leaping gray aquatic mammals!
Here is the run-down for dolphins who we’ll be observing during this session. Ladies first: Gracie, Cedena, Mrs. Beasly, Alita and Carmella are the adult females. Maury and Mika are young adult females and look like they might have their first calf each this year. Fiona, Bailey, and Margarita (Marg, for short) are the younger, more feisty females. Mrs. B. and Cedena are very pregnant now.
For the boys, we have Paya, Hector, Ritchie, Ronnie, Bill, Ken, Mr. French, Anthony, Dixon and a new male (no name yet). Hector and Ritchie have formed an alliance and dethroned Paya as the alpha male. They all sort of avoid each other now. Ronnie and Bill still hang out together and French and Anthony seem to spend time together while Ken and Dixon sort of hang out and sort of infiltrate other pairs. Their mom is Carmella so Ken is Dixon’s older brother.
It is good to be back and watching the dolphins again … our “family photo album” needs some new pictures. I’ll have new images and sketches to share with the DRT team from Wallingford – they are getting skilled at recognizing individual dolphins.
My first data collection session begins tomorrow morning, early.


Happy "cinco de mayo" to everyone reading! Today is also called "pack for Roatan" for Kathleen. 

I have the array (MVA4), tapes, mask, fins, snorkel and shorty wetsuit set out near my bright orange gear case. I have the datasheet copies ready, information about our studies in Roatan, copies of reprints, slates, sunblock, and more ready to be packed. Now I just need to shift my brain from the chilly spring in New England to the warmer climate of Honduras as I pack clothing for the next 2.5 weeks of field work studying the RIMS dolphins at Anthony's Key Resort.

Bill and I travel to Roatan on Thursday and our eco-tour participants arrive on Saturday. It will be good to see the dolphins at RIMS this year and to observe their antics once again. 

 I will keep you posted with details as the field season progresss and give you an update on the dolphins. I remember how grown Mika, Maury, Ronnie and Bill had seemed last August ... I can just imagine each individual dolphin again in anticipation of getting to RIMS.

I'll also do my best to include some photos with my daily reports so that you can see the development of the dolphins and maybe some of their behaviors too.

And, in quick introduction, DCP has been teaching a group of middle school students at Moran Middle School in Wallingford, CT about our studies of the dolphins on Roatan ... and a bit about Roatan. So, watch for a few notes to this team of DRTs as they prepare for their visit to Roatan next summer.





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