On Tuesday morning, we saw a water spout (essentially a tornado on the ocean) from our class space. It was an, ummm, interesting way to start the day. Thankfully, the rest of the day was nice – it’s getting pretty warm down here! After writing our blog, we did a few of our cetacean species presentations. Then, we had a lecture on photo-ID and were able to practice on archived photos before identifying the two dolphins we swam with on Monday: Cerra (#38) and Sulfur (#102).
During our break before lunch, we did a little shopping and saw the ruins of the hotel where Hemingway used to stay. It was really warm as we walked around and then headed back for cat naps and our delicious lunch. The boat departed at 2:30 p.m. and just as we excited the marina some of us were lucky enough to see an eagle ray jump twice! We saw some more eagle rays cruising the harbor and soon began our search for dolphins.
We were certainly spoiled the first two boat trips, finding dolphins so quickly. Today, we had to be more patient. The search was broken up by the first of two loggerhead turtles. As we searched through the building waves, we came upon three young spotteds, including our buddy Sulfur (#102). Soon, these youngsters were joined by older dolphins. The group was cruising, riding the big waves. It definitely seemed to get the dolphins’ attention when the captain would engage the engine; they would come quickly to the bow. The larger group split up and Kel asked that we follow the younger group. We gave an underwater observation a try, getting a chance to see Sulfur again, along with two others. There was a lot of active pec-to-pec rubbing between the two un-ID’d dolphins (Update: Nicole ID’d these as Vee (#101) and un-ID’d #110; Vee is pictured here). Yesterday Cerra was super vocal; today, the dolphins were very quiet. The waves were pretty big, which made this swim more challenging that previous days. Watching the dolphins showed us how well adapted they are for the marine environment – and how out of place we are! When the dolphins swam away, we boarded the boat and continued to follow them on their journey south. At 18:04, our trio joined eight other dolphins, including the first clear calf sighting of the day. As it got later, we had to say goodbye and head to shore. Kudos to Ryan, who braved the waves in his face to keep an eye on the bowriding dolphins so DCP could mark exactly how far they traveled.
Shortly after, we got another nice glimpse of a loggerhead turtle. It was a wet, fun-and-slightly-scary rollercoaster ride home. But, we were all holding on, to each other and our hats! Back at the Sea Crest pasta dinner was amazing. Before bed, we ate brownies, finished our cetacean species presentations, worked on our assignments and headed to bed.