Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This can happen to you!

Hi All.
Actually I am now at home for a few weeks but will be returning to Turks on the 13th of January. I met a very nice lady who has become obsessed by dolphins. This is a condition that is fairly common once you've met one!! I mentioned keeping an eye on the water to look for dorsals and our boat. Here is the email she sent me BTW this is normal behavior once you are hooked!!
 
I was determined to find you this am. I was in the water really early. I was Waving my arms around. I decided to take off a fin with the hope you would see me. I had your book with a pen wrapped in a water tight packet. I decided if I went on the beach you might have a better chance of seeing me. So I wore my fins like gloves flippers actually was waving around the beach.  Searching for jay is comparable  to searching for dolphins.


                                                               Happy New Year

                                                                       Jay

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Short clip of Whitey

Hi All,
Here is a short clip of Whitey John took from the boat. We didn't see him yesterday. After the previous day's encounter, I think he'd had it with tour boats. We again spent the day with Julia and Frisky. They seemed to like riding our wake just not as close to the boat as JoJo. They weren't as interested in interaction in the water but I did get to see them crater fish successfully a few times.
I would have had some footage,  BUT as I was slipping into the water I caught my bathing suit on the swim ladder and was sort of dangling there until John, who was trying to drive the boat and hand me the scooter, saw the problem and unhooked me!! I forgot to start the camera in all the excitement.
video

Friday, December 27, 2013

Enter Whitey

Hi All,
We hadn't seen dolphins for two days and were anxious to find anyone. The day was gorgeous with the a light wind coming out of the south east making for calm seas on Grace Bay. There were very few rain clouds which was a relief after dodging rain on Xmas day. We headed out of Leeward and made our first big circle around Grace Bay. As we came back to Leeward, we saw three dorsals heading out way. The first had a white tip. They all came right toward the boat so I got in to see who was who. I know another dolphin with a white tip on the end of her dorsal but she (I think) has never come close to me so I don't believe it was her. This dolphin came right to me as if I knew him (her). His dorsal had a lot of white on the end and white on the right side of his fluke. His fluke was also missing the very end of the left side as well as being tattered on both sides. His pecs were also tattered. He was a big dolphin like JoJo probably 7 feet and from all the nicks and bruises I'd say fairly old. The other two dolphins were Julia and Frisky. I was getting a very nice swim with Whitey, which is what I decided to call the new dolphin,when the tour boats started arriving. As soon as they got close, Whitey went way deep and I didn't see him again. I then went over to Julia and Frisky who let me swim with them as they negotiated the tour boats. At one point there were 9 tour boats all crowding around trying to get their tourists a good dolphin sighting. I think Julia and Frisky had had enough and swam away from me at speed. I hope they didn't feel I had anything to do with all the traffic.
After all the boats left, John and I followed Julia and Frisky as they made their way leisurely around Grace Bay. I was very sad to have my swim with Whitey interrupted. A few hours later they made their way out to the Club Med Cut, which is where all the dive boats go past the reef and where dolphins sometimes come back from outside the reef. We thought maybe someone would join them because they seemed to be just waiting around maybe calling. After awhile another dorsal did appear!! It was Whitey who once again came right to the boat. Just as I was about to climb in a parasail boat came whizzing by VERY close to our boat and right over the top of Whitey! Whitey again disappeared. GRRRRR JoJo wouldn't care but Whitey is not into boat traffic! We never saw Whitey again.
We followed Julia and Frisky almost  to the end of Pine Cay. I only got a few swims as they weren't into long interaction. We were hoping to find other dolphins when we got there but it was getting too dark and we didn't quite make it to the end. As we were following along we were hearing across our radio that two Humpbacks had been spotted outside of Leeward heading toward Pine Cay. The funny part was that just that morning I had mentioned to John that perhaps the whales would start coming by as they usually show up in early January but so many animals seem to be starting their migrations earlier.
 Whitey

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

JoJo Brings Me to Julia and Frisky

Hi All,
Yesterday we again met up with JoJo, Raggedy Ann, Julia and Frisky.We found them at Leeward Cut again and stayed with them for about four hours.  Most every time I got in, JoJo would lead the way to Julia and Frisky. You can see that in the video. I tried to get the gash on the front of Frisky's left pec on the video, but you can't see it. I'm wondering if that will leave a scar. I imagine he either got it from being run into by a boat or an attack from a predator. JoJo's cuts have always healed very quickly I'm hoping his will too. JoJo took sometime out from escorting to do a little crater fishing. He plunged his rostrum deep in the sand and came up with what looked like two little wiggly worms.
I hope you all have a Merry Xmas
Jay
video

Monday, December 23, 2013

MERRY XMAS

                                                                        MERRY XMAS

                     
                                                                      JoJo and Jay

Sunday, December 22, 2013

JoJo checking out tourists

Hi All,
John has injured his back so we have been unable to go out. In between pacing, I've had time to go through the many many video clips and thought you might find this one amusing!
Kristen my daughter and I were swimming with JoJo last winter when he decided to have a look at some people on one of the tour boats. You can only imagine what was going through his mind!! you will notice that once he's seen enough, he heads off with Kristen and I. Kristen has the yellow snorkel.
video

A Swim With JoJo

Hi All,
I thought you might like to go for a swim with JoJo!! Notice he is waiting for us at the back of Catch Ride!!
video


Another First

Hi All,
I have seen video of dolphins playing with Sargasso (seaweed)but I had never seen it.
After searching around Grace Bay we came came back to Leeward Cut and saw a big Catamaran motor boat (the very one that swamps our boat if we hit the wake just wrong!). They were stopped right in the cut. We figured there were dolphins involved and there were. I got in to find JoJo, Raggedy Ann, Julia and Frisky. JoJo lead me to them at which point another tour boat barged in and got between me and the dolphins :( I climbed back in Catch ride and waited for them to get their pictures, "oh" and "ahh". After they checked it off their "see JoJo" list and went on their way I got back in. They all seemed happy to have me there and were in play mode. Frisky and I passed over a reef with lots of fish, I could hear him whistling even above the noise from my scooter. Raggedy Ann and Julia were swimming next to each other. JoJo was never very far off. After passing over the reef I caught up to Raggedy Ann and Julia. Raggedy Ann had the Sargasso draped over her left pec. No one seemed to notice. We swam along for awhile I'm watching intently to see what would happen! Next she has the Sargasso draped over her rostrum (nose). This gets Frisky's attention! He goes over and tries to grab it off her rostrum. He gets it but drops it. It is floating below me so I figure maybe I can join in. I go down and grab it. They are ahead and just keep swimming but close together as if contemplating this situation. JoJo is coming under me so I try dropping it hoping that he would retrieve it. He however, ignored it. I was really worried that maybe I had broken the rules of dolphin etiquette but they all were fine with me continuing to hang out even though they didn't let me interact in their Sargasso game. Frisky started to swim next to Julia and suckled three times.
This would have been such great footage but I didn't have the camera at the time:( We stayed with them for four hours they made a huge circle and ended up at Leeward again and we opted to go home. These photos are of Julia and Frisky from the other day



 JoJo 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Perhaps they are the same??

Hi All,
I've been thinking maybe the Mom and calf I've been seeing with JoJo is the same mother and calf I saw yesterday. When you are in the water with them they appear much bigger than when you see them from the boat. If only one of the Mom's had a distinguishing mark!! In any case here's a pic of Frisky which is what I've named the calf!

Mom and Calf

Hi All,
video
I'm not seeing much of JoJo. I think Raggedy Ann is keeping him to herself. However we did find the mother and calf who were quite friendly. We were also in clear water which enabled me to take some footage. The best footage I could have gotten was of them coming right toward me but I didn't get them in the screen very well but you'll get the idea!! We spent the first part of the day with them as they slowly made their way up toward Pine Cay from Ocean Club where we found them.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Worth The Wait

Hi All,
We got off to a late start due to some business issues we had to deal with.  I feel the late start throws us off our usual search path. We didn't see anyone through out the day and had pretty much given up the search. It was getting late and we were traveling home from the far end of Pine Cay when I saw dorsals!!!! Not just one but lots. As I started putting on my flippers, we saw JoJo surface. He came right to the boat and I got in with him. The water was really murky making it hard to see anyone unless you were right beside them. He took me right over to the pod then looked right into my face. He was inches from me. I'm not sure if he's saying here we all are; I'm proud of my family or join in we're having fun. There is definitely some meaning to this look. In any case I'm totally honored at the chance to be in the middle of such great confusion (only for me of course!!)
I counted five dolphins and I was  trying to figure out who was who. I saw Raggedy Ann's distinctive fluke. There was a calf  racing around. I'm pretty sure he was the one I met on our last trip. He was everywhere diving, leaping and occasionally whizzing over to see the boat. I think his Mom was there as there was another big dolphin with no markings but she wasn't Bo! I also think maybe one of the juveniles from last year may have joined them but I'm not sure. I spent some time in between Raggedy Ann and JoJo, then I lost sight of them only to have one of them breach right behind me! Another time I was looking up to see if I could find them and the calf was spy hopping to see where I was. I got a good 1/2 hour swimming with them all. The long hours of searching and searching may seem nuts to some people but the pay off is well worth it to me!
video
I am including an old video of JoJo, Bo and Lemon Lips in murky water so you can see what it looks like down there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Back On The Island

Hi All,
After returning to Turks after a brief visit home to take care of business (run horse show, judge horse show, go to Canada to buy horses. Whew!!) it took a few days to find JoJo. We followed a few leads but didn't find him until yesterday when we passed Beaches and three people in a small motor boat from the resort waved us down. The captain said the passengers had seen a dolphin swim by the beach and they were out looking for it. I asked which way he was swimming and we headed in that direction. Not long after we found JoJo and another heading toward Smith's Reef. John pulled out ahead and I got in. They both swam directly to me then passed by to scratch on the finger coral that is prevalent in the area. The other dolphin was Raggedy Ann, which I suspected. The water was very clear and if I'd had a camera I would have gotten some great footage of them scratching and rolling in the coral. However, the wind has been pretty strong and I didn't think I would have an opportunity to film in clear water. Okay, I will never leave home without my camera!! We followed them way out into Crystal Bay where Raggedy Ann has gone in the past. I have never had JoJo take me there unless they were together. Before we got to Crystal Bay, as I was climbing in beside JoJo I noticed a pile of masks and snorkels that must have fallen off a tour boat. I tried to get JoJo interested so maybe I could retrieve them but he wasn't interested. We tried to find them later but we didn't have any luck!

video

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Best Dolphin T Day Ever

Hi All,
The day started again with our buddy calling us from Reef Peepers to say he was with a dolphin.
We went like the wind back up the coast from where we were looking around. There were two dolphins swimming along beside Reef Peepers. This and the broadcast over the radio created a bit of a dolphin traffic jam. However, as we patiently waited, they all went off on their on their respective tours. I then got to hop in the water and identify who was with JoJo. It was Raggedy Ann as we suspected. After a few swims she once again let me swim right behind her as JoJo took up his position following me.
We followed them again to the end of Pine Cay only this time it was earlier in the day. As we motored up past The Meridian Club which is the only resort on that island, the dolphins started to head toward the reef instead of into the channel between Fort George and Pine Cay. I was looking out toward the reef and saw at least one dorsal!!! This is what I thought was going to happen the day before when we ran out of day light amongst other things!
Soon all the dolphins met up as I knew they would. I couldn't wait to get in to see who had joined up. More than anything, I love to see how excited they get when they meet up. The dolphins weren't far from the boat and they were spy hoping. I believe they wanted me to join them. When I got in the water was murky as always in that area but I was able to see that there was a mother and calf. The mother acted as friendly as Bo, Lemon Lips Mom but she didn't have the little bit of white on the front of her dorsal. Raggedy Ann was stroking and playing flipper footsie with the  mother. They were so happy to see each other. JoJo was orchestrating the whole thing by leading me to them then backing off. The calf was acting a little like Lemon Lips swimming all over, circling and darting about. I was right in the middle of them!!! They didn't care who I was near or how close. They were fine with the calf visiting me even if they were off a little way. We all passed over some coral heads and there was a big Ballon fish swimming along the bottom. The dolphins all started to play with it like it was a soccer ball!! The calf was totally intrigued following it along the bottom with his rostrum nosing it along. I got laughing so hard I thought I'd choke. We all moved off a little way but they decided they wanted a little more fun and turned around and heckled the fish some more. I lost sight of everyone for a moment and went back to the boat. Just as I got there I saw them all again. They were so close but I missed them with the murk. This time the mom was upside down with both flippers stretched out. She was shaking a trunk fish that she had caught and the calf was getting very excited watching.
There were times I mistook Raggedy Ann for JoJo and she let me hang with her. It's such delightful confusion!
I lost sight of the dolphins and had to climb out,when Atebeyra a big sail boat pulled away from the beach where they were having a picnic and shell hunting. As soon as they left, the dolphins surfaced and I got back in. This time another boat came up to watch all the activity. I thought for sure when they put some swimmers in the water my fun would come to an end. However, JoJo once again taking care of his pod, swam right over to the boat. This seems to be his decoy device to take the attention off the others. The swimmers however were coming toward us. The dolphins circled back toward them then veered away just quickly enough to loose them, and there I was in this pod being led away from these swimmers without JoJo.  How cool is THAT.
I can't possibly think of a better way to spend thanksgiving than with a pod of dolphins who have been gracious enough to let me into their lives.

JoJo and Raggedy Ann

Hi All,
The front has finally passed leaving us with a perfect day, no rain, no big waves but with dolphins!!
With the help of the Captain of Reef Peepers, we found JoJo and Raggedy Ann out in front of Seven Stars. JoJo was friendly but as usual torn between swimming with Raggedy Ann who wasn't as friendly and swimming with me. He usually stays with me until she speeds up then leaves me behind. We stayed with them along the coast, with me getting the occasional swim until we got near Ocean Club, where we made a quick  trip to the beach to pick up some friends of ours, Karen and Bob. We luckily were able to find JoJO and Raggedy Ann again as they made their way leisurely toward Leeward then up to the end of Pine Cay.
There are many times I bring friends out and we can't find JoJo. This time however we were him most of the day and he put on a great show even if he was with Raggedy Ann.
Our friends watched as I got in and out, getting a few nice swims with JoJo and I explained that he dictates how we swim. For the first time he actually stayed behind me as I swam along figuring he wanted me to catch up to her. She came into view and seemed to be waiting for me to catch up. We then swam in formation with Raggedy Ann in the lead, me right behind her fluke and JoJo behind me!!
Later in the afternoon as we were approaching the end of Pine Cay, I saw a pretty big yacht and figured JoJo would have to go visit. Minutes later JoJo and Raggedy Ann showed up just as I predicted. There was a round floating raft with lots of people having a good time on it. As the dolphins got close the "rafters" all got very excited and started jumping in the water to see if they could swim with the famous JoJo. We brought our boat fairly close and I waited until JoJo came our way and climbed in. He came right to me and we headed back toward the yacht. He seemed to want me there but wasn't interested in swimming with the others, avoiding them when they got close.
I was, as always interested to see if there was going to be a meeting with other dolphins when we approached the cut but the sun was getting low on the horizon and everyone was ready to head back. Karen and Bob were very interested to have witnessed all this dolphin behavior and of course felt this was the high point of their vacation!
Happy Thanksgiving to All From me JoJo and all his friends!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mom And Calf

Hi All,
We saw the same small mom and calf that were in the pod of five from a few days ago. They were traveling at the end of Pine Cay. They were quite shy without JoJo as is often the case.
Meanwhile back at Ocean Club a Manta Ray was sighted traveling right along the beach!! I saw one many years ago taking the same route.
No JoJo!
I have written my second book about JoJo. It chronicles how our relationship has grown and lots of new adventures. There are many color photos mostly taken from my underwater videos. If you would like to purchase it go to Amazon and type in JoJo And Jay II. Hope you enjoy it!!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Barn Owl

Hi All,
We might not have seen even one dolphin but we did see our first ever Barn Owl.
We were trying to escape some rain showers that just kept coming our way. We ended up near North Caicos and decided to motor around the marina, which is huge. There are canals that meander all through the mangroves. This marina was another Island project that never took off. There is dock space for many many boats but there are only a few boats that actually use it. I think the idea was for people to build homes along the canals and keep their boats out front.
We were poking along way back at the end of the marina and had just gone under a bridge and were flanked by mangroves on one side and a steep limestone bank on the other; when we saw this rather large Barn Owl. He was perched in a sort of cave that was made from parts of the limestone giving way leaving large indents in the bank. He flew off into another hollow then off to perch on a Casuarina tree all the while keeping an eye on us.
Apparently animals of the night like Barn Owls and bats seek refuge in these limestone caves during the day.
                               

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Short Sighting

Hi All,
The last few days weren't filled with dolphins unfortunately. We saw JoJo briefly by himself. I thought maybe we'd have a great day with him but he was on a mission that didn't include me! When I got in he was echo locating. I know he's doing that by the way he swings his head from side to side. He then swam off fairly quickly and we lost sight of him.
video
We decided to see how the iguanas were doing. We have been feeding them raisons for years. A few days before they weren't in their usual place when I stopped off to clean their beach. So we decided to pay them another visit. This time there was a female and a male that came to greet us. They liked our raisons and managed to stuff parts of an apple in their mouths as well. Here is a video I took a few years before of an iguana war! you will see two males fighting and a short clip of a female coming to see what's up.
Later as we were motoring along I noticed a small fish with big bulging eyes chasing something as we got closer we could see a trunk fish right at the surface chasing a little crab!!
At that point we were near Turtle Cove and decided to snorkel at Smith's Reef where we saw an Eagle Ray and lots of Horse Eyed Jacks. Not as good as dolphins but still interesting!  

Monday, November 18, 2013

JoJo and The Pod

Hi All,
We found JoJo with a mom I don't know, a calf and two bigger dolphins that may be Lemon Lips and B.B.Tip. The waves were still big and the water very murky making identification hard. They seemed fine with me swimming along with them but I had a hard time seeing them even when I was right over them. John told me they all waited for me a few times but I just couldn't see them.
I'm wondering if one dolphin was Lemon Lips because there was still a slight yellow tinge to his lips! This dolphin wanted to come to me but didn't behave like Lemon Lips. Maybe because he's now a three year old he doesn't display the same behavior, circling me at speed zooming off and returning to circle me some more.
We witnessed a lot of spy hoping as we watched from the boat.  They either wanted to know whether we were still there or maybe the calf just wanted to look at us!
We were with them pretty much all day. Traveling from Grace Point to the opposite end of Pine Cay. There was one moment when the water was a bit clearer where they were all milling around me. It is worth spending all these hours following them for that one moment!
I hope today the water will settle which will help with clarity. I plan to wear my GoPro on my wrist for some filming in case the water is better and we find them.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Front Still Here

Hi All,
Apparently this front is here for the week. There were rain showers through out the day as well as fairly big waves which makes dolphin watching tricky.
We went out in the afternoon after my pacing around the condo watching the rain showers come and go. We started the search going down toward Grace Point. We noticed a kite boarder waving on the beach and after determining he wasn't doing some sort of aerobic exercise we went over to see what he wanted. His buddy had lost his kite board somewhere out there! We took him(Joe) on board and hunted around but were unable to find it. I think the seas have claimed it! After dropping him off, we continued to Grace Point but no dorsals. On the way back I spotted two dolphins way out by the reef swimming at a good clip. As we motored up we were pretty sure one was JoJo but I couldn't find him when I got in. Between the waves and the murky water I was like Mr Magoo swimming around. We saw them once again heading toward Leeward but couldn't get close. We then noticed an Osprey land in the water with a HUGE fish! He kept raising his wings out of the water to perhaps dry them a little then try to fly maybe 5 feet before the fish weighed him down and he'd plop back into the water. After many attempts he finally gave up and left the huge fish to sink into the water as he flew to shore. We were really rooting him on but couldn't think of a way to help.
We saw maybe the same two dolphins fishing a little past Leeward but it was too wavy and they were swimming too fast for any interaction. We opted for a fast trip back to the marina with another rain storm at our heels.
Even though I didn't get any good interaction, I feel I know where he's headed at least toward the end of the day and this will help with finding him again. Now I'm hoping the two young dolphins, JoJo and Raggedy Ann join up and they will
let me swim with them. JoJo has been hanging with Raggedy Ann for at least three years that I'm aware of probably much longer. She usually doesn't want to swim with me unless Bo is around. JoJo is apt to come over briefly as if to say "Hi  I know you are here but I'm busy with Raggedy Ann". The other day was an exception, when I got to swim right between her and JoJo.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lumpy Water

Hi All,
A front moved in making the water very rough. We decided it was too rough out front and went back in the channel between Mangrove and Donna Cay to check out iguanas and do beach clean up. After spending most of the morning there we thought we'd drop off the trash and take a look out front in case it was better. As we approached Leeward two boat captains told us they'd seen dolphins out front. We took off in the direction we figured they'd be heading only to fight huge waves all the way to the end of Pine Cay and back. As we got back to Leeward I saw a dorsal. We found two young dolphins traveling together. I got in but they wouldn't let me close enough for identification. I'm thinking they might have been Lemon Lips and B.B. Tip. They would now be three years old and perhaps not with their moms. They may have also been on a mission and going back to meet their moms. In any case swimming with me wasn't in their plan!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

First Trip of the Season

Hi All,
We arrive on Tues. loaded down with two huge boxes containing one new scooter, one old repaired water scooter, huge duffel bags one containing 30 JoJo books which weighed as much as a giant rock collection. The airport guys are giving us well deserved nasty looks.
We immediately start hearing JoJo rumors; no owners have seen him, he was with three others but had been hit by a boat and wasn't interested in following boats any more. He is dead!!! I am out to prove most of that wrong!!
We head down to the Cabana Bar to grab a quick meal and we see lots of other Ocean Club owners. They are talking about movies and politics and all I want to do is ask if anyone has seen JoJo and think about the next day!!!
Later Andy and Denise, a horse friend from home drop by for a quick hello. look Our condo which looks like a tsunami hit it. Andy has moved here from Canada where he drove a grey hound bus for a living. He now lives in a gorgeous house in a posh area of Provo and manages a fancy Villa as well as being the Captain of one of the nicest, if not the nicest yachts on the island. We are trying to get organized to leave at the crack of dawn (my favorite time). He tells me he saw JoJo with a mom and newborn and an older dolphin in front of Leeward just a few days ago. He also said he thought JoJo sustained a major cut from a boat and was moving slowly.
I've now been up since 4 AM waiting to get out on the boat. The marina opens at 7:30 and we are there. As usual on the island no matter how many emails one sends asking to have the boat ready and assurances that it's sitting all gassed up and waiting, we find Catch Ride sitting on its trailer no where near the water! GRRRRRRRR. Everyone hustles around (actually in the Caribbean there is no real hustling!) and we finally get out on the water. It's beautiful and quite flat.
We cruise up and down Grace Bay to the end of Pine Cay and back all day. I'm so excited to see the boat captains we have become friends with, who give us the best greetings waving their arms and shouting "Welcome back!". We are especially happy to see Reef Peeper's Captain and Ariel's Captain who have been so helpful in finding JoJo in the past. They all give us the I don't know where he is sign. We have one lead when we get a call on our radio that there is a boat traffic jam between Little Iguana Cay and Half Moon Beach. We go like the wind to get there but no dolphins.
As we  head up Pine Cay for one more look, John sees a dorsal!!!! We see two adult dolphins but they are keeping their distance. We parallel them until we get close to the sand bar in front of Fort George Cay.
One dolphin comes closer to the back of our boat and we think it's JoJo, so I get in. He comes right over and it is JoJo!! I see a new scar or two but he looks pretty good to my relief. He's very friendly and brings me to the other dolphin who was Raggedy Ann. NO WONDER they stayed far away! This time however, I swam between both dolphins. She usually doesn't do that unless Bo is around. I get to free dive and go along the bottom next to JoJo. He then wanted me to swim behind Raggedy Ann and was swimming really close behind me.
A little later they started fishing and I'd say JoJo still can move right along!! I usually stay a little distance off so as not to interfere or get run into. There was quite a bit of boat traffic and we lost sight of them as they were making their way toward Parrot Cay.
 All is right with my world, as I sigh deeply knowing my friend is okay and still accepts me into his world.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

South Caicos


Hi All,
John and I have been thinking about a trip to South Caicos for a long time and finally made it. We took our 15 foot Boston Whaler across the South Bank to South Caicos. It was a long and bumpy ride but well worth the trip. Our friend, Bruce from Caicos Marina not only gave us his GPS to guide us over the bank but, set us up with his mother, to stay at her home and his sister who brought us to a place where we could rent a car. This gives you an idea of how nice the people from South Caicos are!! grew up on South Caicos but now lives and works on Provo.
South Caicos is a very small community. The people live mainly from the fishing industry. We saw numerous home-made boats pull into the harbor to unload their fish, which were cleaned at the dock. On that day we saw Hog fish, Rock Hind and a big turtle :( being cleaned. Turtles have been a food source on the islands for hundreds of years and killing turtles is not outlawed yet in The Turks and Caicos Islands.
We were met at the dock by Tina and Amber, Bruce's Mom and sister who brought us to Tina's house and then down town to rent a car. Once we were situated, we went back to the dock where we found one of the two restaurants in town. As we were eating a delicious fish sandwich, served by Judith who  told us her name and wanted to know ours.  I saw two huge splashes out on the water. Those splashes could only be from a whale. After lunch we returned to Catch Ride for some snorkeling followed by a search for dolphins that Bruce said frequent the waters around South Caicos. The snorkeling was great! The reefs were very healthy and the water as clear as I've ever seen. There were also some of the biggest barracudas I've seen watching our every move. Actually, there were a lot more of them!! We then toured around the Six Hills Cay not far from South Caicos. As we came around the ocean side of the island toward the shallower South Bank side of the island, I saw another big splash. I asked John to turn back and we headed out into the deep water of the Columbus Channel which runs between South Caicos, Ambergis Cay, Grand Turk and Salt Cay. We saw spouts fairly far out but the water was very calm so we ventured out. We thought they looked like mother and calf resting on the top. Just as John was about to climb in for a visit and a little footage with the GoPro, I spotted the biggest shark I'd ever seen!!! It was not a friendly Reef shark, it looked like a serious, big shark, almost as long as the boat. It was cruising around at the surface. It seemed strange that a shark would be so close to the whales. I can only guess that maybe the calf was having problems and the shark was stalking. In any case, John elected to stay in the boat!
 We didn't find any dolphins much to my disappointment and returned to put our boat up for the night. We then went for a drive around the town. The island as you can see has donkeys and horses roaming around. We heard also heard there is a cow named Oreo that also frequents downtown. Everyone waves or says "Hi" if you are walking around town. I was asking directions from a guy who was waiting for his ride. He introduced himself and asked my name before telling me how to reach my destination!!
The next morning we went to see the other end of the island where there is a big cliff that over looks the ocean. The dirt road took us to the top of the cliff where the view was amazing.The sky was a brilliant blue and Tropic birds hovering above the cliffs where they were making their nests. Some were soaring over the glistening, flat sea with their long tails floating out behind them. The plan is to put a resort called Sail Rock up on this cliff. At present, there are a few buildings already complete and almost ready for occupants.
After move island touring, we decided to head back before the wind picked up. It can be a really really long ride if you are heading into the wind and the waves kick up. As we passed through a very narrow channel with sand bars on either side, John noticed some rays heading in the same direction. We counted 15 Spotted Eagle rays going the same way we were. They were so easy to spot since the water was only about 5 feet deep.
I would highly recommend a trip to South Caicos if any of you want a trip back in time to a very friendly place!!!

,

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Eagle ray at Smith's reef

video
Hi All,
Thought you might enjoy this. We have seen more rays this trip than any other. We counted over 15 on our trip back from South Caicos. My next blog will have a few pics form South Caicos.

JoJo has new cut

Hi All,
We found two moms with their calves. JoJo wasn't with them when we first saw them. The water was wavy and not clear. When I got in with them, they came by but I couldn't tell who they were. To make matters worse my scooter wasn't working so I had no chance of keeping up even though they weren't
 trying to get away. After swimming with them as best I could, I climbed back in the boat and saw a single dolphin heading our way. He was going in the opposite direction from the others. It was JoJo. Maybe he split with them earlier to do some fishing?! He went one direction and they went the other. Because the water so murky, we couldn't find him so decided to follow the others. We eventually lost them as they headed toward the reef where the swells were pretty huge!
We turned back and had a few boat captains point so, we knew JoJo had been seen heading toward Grace Point. We found him circling a para-sail boat. I got in and saw he had a new cut. He had what looked like two small puncture wounds on his left side with a long but not deep scratch. He also looked like he had brushed his fluke against something as there was an abrasion. None of these cuts seemed very deep. I have never seen a puncture wound on him before and hope it isn't deeper than it appears. We swam together around Catch Ride for awhile then JoJo swam off sideways! toward the reef. After I got back in our boat, we caught up to him and he followed us for awhile but kept branching off. We lost him as we turned off to go around a reef. This will probably be our last swim for this winter as a front seems to be moving in and the swells are huge!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Found The Pod

Hi All,
I have been hearing that there are big pods of dolphins out past the reef and we finally found one.
Yesterday, was a gorgeous day with flat water. We saw our first Tropic bird of the season. They are pelagic birds that come to nest on the remote cays of Turks and Caicos.  They always show up in March and they were right on time! We got to watch her  soar way above our heads. Her gorgeous long tail is her trade mark.
We were at the far end of Pine Cay looking for JoJo. I had heard reports that JoJo has been seen with a young calf and mom in this area. Usually when there is a new calf involved, we can't  find JoJo. When they are ready to be seen they will be out on Grace Bay.
We decided to go out past the reef as the water was perfect for seeing whales (finding dolphin pods!!)  John saw dorsals heading our way and there were lots!! As they got closer, I slipped into the water.  They swam by me and I followed along counting at least 12. I didn't recognize any of them. There was at least one calf who had a mom and maybe aunt swimming with him. Once I couldn't keep up, I got on the boat and watched as they played, porpoising side by side clear out of the water, tail slapping, swimming upside down and any number of other fun dolphin activities. We got to stay with them for about 45 minutes then Poof they were gone!! As we motored back looking across this beautiful flat sea, I saw something leap way out of the water like a big dolphin!! It was way in the distance and as we were approaching we could see spouts and dorsals. I had seen a Humpback calf porpoise like a dolphin!! He was playing around, tail slapping and surfacing. We watched them for quite awhile then they continued on their way and we headed for home.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why One Shouldn't Feed Wild Dolphins

Not to worry this isn't JoJo!!!



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Sue Tanner <trailgirl61@yahoo.com>
9/25/12
to me
Jay  another story this morning  so  sad   we need you talking in our schools and out there in the media....  :)
 

Related Content

A dolphin known as "Beggar" for his tendency to approach boaters for food has been found dead, possibly as a result of his poor diet.
Beggar was found floating in the water near Albee Road Bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway in Sarasota, Fla., on Friday (Sept 21). His body was partially decomposed, making it impossible to determine the exact cause of death. However, the dolphin's digestive tract contained fishing hooks, squid beaks (not usual prey for dolphins in the area) and ulcers, suggesting that humans may have contributed to his demise.
According to the Mote Marine Laboratory, for the past 20 years, Beggar has been hanging out in the area where he was found dead. He was known to approach boats looking for food. During 100 hours of observations over several months in 2011, researchers with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program observed Beggar interacting with humans 3,600 times. People tried 169 times to feed Beggar an impressive range of 520 foods, including beer and hot dogs. On 121 occasions, boaters tried to pet the dolphin. Nine times, they were bitten for their efforts.
Over the years, the dolphin became a poster child for why feeding marine wildlife is illegal. The behavior put Beggar at risk of getting hit by a boat, Mote reported, and other dolphins seemed to learn his bad behavior by watching him. [Gallery: A Dolphin Success Story]
It is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to feed or pet wild dolphins. Punishments include up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail per violation.
The Sarasota County Marine Patrol brought Beggar's body in for a necropsy (animal autopsy) at Mote. Scientists found the dolphin had been struck by boats in the past; he had healed boat scars on his dorsal fin as well as several healed puncture wounds on his fins and body. He also had multiple broken ribs and vertebrae.
Beggar had not eaten much before death. Dolphin stomachs are made up of three compartments. In Beggar's first stomach compartment were three fishing hooks and fragments of fishing line. In his third stomach compartment, researchers found the squid beaks, suggesting human feeding with fishing bait, and several ulcers. Beggar was also dehydrated, possibly because of his skewed diet, Mote reported. Two old stingray barbs were also embedded in Beggar's flesh.
"We can't say which of these many injuries was the ultimate cause of death for Beggar," Gretchen Lovewell, the manager of Mote's Stranding Investigations Program, said in a statement. "But all of our findings indicate that he was in poor health for a long time and that his interactions with humans played a role. Boat strike wounds, fishing hooks and line in his stomach — even the squid beaks we found — all of these things indicate that he was spending more time attempting to get food from humans than foraging on his own."
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Another Great Day with JoJo

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Hi All,
Today we found him right at Club Med, first thing in the am. Seems the longer I'm here, the easier it is to find JoJo and the more he uses our Taxi Service!  My daughter, Kristen and I swam with JoJo for quite awhile right in front of OC. He had a few nice rolls in the sand and checked out a large school of fish. He then wanted a ride all the way to the end of Pine Cay where he traded our boat with Big Blue which has a much bigger wake to surf! He did come back however, and wanted to go all the way past Smith Reef which is MILES away! (click on the map)
We tried to get him to accompany us for a snorkel at Smith Reef but he traveled right through the reef with us and continued back toward toward Beaches. We stayed to snorkel since John has barely been off the boat in two days!! We saw a lots of turtles, one that was tagged (project to follow where they go); Horse Eyed jacks; Eagle rays; Atlantic Spade fish to name a few!! GREAT REEF!!
 After dining at Tiki Hut, we resumed the hunt for JoJo. We found him at Leeward. We motioned to a few captains that the dolphin was with us and a major dolphin traffic jam ensued with as many as 7 boats all crowding around him. I used to think all the activity was an invasion of his space but he seems to enjoy it. After they all went on their way, off we went with JoJo in our wake.
This video is from yesterday when at one point we had four boats all abreast hoping that their guests would get pictures of JoJo and that JoJo might like their wake enough to follow their boat.              
I'm quite sure that one reason JoJo wants to travel up and down the coast is that he's looking for other dolphins. He usually branches off opposite the cuts through the reef. I believe the dolphins come through these cuts to spend time with JoJo. I'm sure the mothers and calves come inside the reef for safety. JoJo seems to escort them.

A Full Day with JoJo

video
Hi All,
What a great day we had!! With the help of the boat captain at Beaches, we found JoJo bright and early and were with him all day. We even went into lunch and found him after! The best part is my daughter who has met JoJo a few times, got some long swims with him and I think he would be happy to swim with her without me around. The video is me filming JoJo and Kristen!!
We were with JoJo in the channel at Leeward when a HUGE school of Horse Eyed Jacks went by. Some of the Jacks  were as big as I'd ever seen. Later, after some anchor play, JoJo went down and briefly harassed a Nurse Shark. I had turned off my camera and missed most of the the encounter but if you look carefully, you can see the shark swimming away!
JoJo was at his best with all the tour boats. There were times when there were four boats abreast all watching him in the wake. I think some times he likes attracting a crowd!
video
The only bad part of the day was that both water scooters died and Kristen and I swam for hours with no help!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Calf Encounter

Hi All,
The weather is finally calming down after a front passed through. We cruise around Grace Bay most of the morning after John went back to the marina to once again deal with the cooling valve. On our way up to Pine Cay, we heard there were dolphins from the captain of a Big Blue boat. We spot a single dorsal and find JoJo who gives us a quick swim-by. He then disappears and we can't find him again.
We head back in the direction we think he was going to see if he wants a ride but can't find him. Once we get to a wreck, which is half way down Pine Cay, I see a dorsal and think we found him. Instead its  a mom and calf! They stay fairly close to the boat, so I get in. They circle me but stay far enough away, so I couldn't really figure out if I knew them. I get back in the boat because and a third dorsal appears!! JoJo has caught up! He comes over to Catch Ride as I get in and brings me right over to them. Now, they will let me swim very near. The calf comes right up.  I don't know him, but he's just like Lemon Lips swimming all around, circling again and again. This calf has some bumps on his head and long, thin pecs. He also has a very upturned "smile".  John said at one point, JoJo and Mom had gotten pretty far away while the calf and I were busy playing and circling.  JoJo came back to see what was going on or maybe tell us to get moving!!
There were times it was so murky I couldn't see anything and they even circled back to get me! I would try to stay inches from JoJo so I could follow but if he dove down at all I would lose sight of him. John and Kristen, my daughter would yell and point to tell me where they were. We had three great hours of playing before they started to swim in formation and speed up.
JoJo wasn't giving me the cold shoulder when we saw him alone he was on a mission to find these two (phew). If it wasn't for him, I would never be able to get so close or  to play with this calf for so long.
If that wasn't cool enough, we headed out to snorkle at the reef and I saw a spout way, then a tail. We motored around trying to find the whale.  We eventually gave up and headed towards another snorkel spot. As we motored away, I saw another spout. We went back out again.  Every time we thought we'd head in, we'd see another spout or whale! We finally had to leave as we had dinner reservations and the sun was setting!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

please sign to help keep dolphins and whales safe


Dear Friend of Whales, Dolphins and other Sea Creatures, 
 
Despite the outcry of 625,000 of us who signed the previous petitions and are passionate about saving the last of the endangered whales, as well as thousands of other whales, dolphins and sea creatures, the Department of Fisheries/NOAA has decided to allow the US Navy to proceed with their plans to decimate our ocean populations with sonar sounds, exploding bombs and sinking of ships. In the Navy's estimation there will be 31 million incidents of harm over the next 5 years to our ocean friends. The harm can range from disrupting their migratory patterns, ability to get food, communicate with their young, permanent hearing loss or bleeding to death. This figure is staggering!
 
This is our last opportunity to have our voices heard; to let them know we are not going to quietly go away, and that we are aware of their irresponsible decision. Our strength lies in our numbers when we act together. If each one of us shares this information with a few friends, we can create a groundswell of people willing to say "that's enough"!
 
Please sign this petition, post it on social media sites and get at least 3 or more of your friends to sign. We need to make this a major media event. If we stand by and do nothing we may loose a vital part of our natural ocean species. Is one click of your mouse too much to ask to save our oceans? Department of Fisheries/NOAA is accepting comments only until March 11, 2013. Please act now by clicking on the link to add your voice.
http://signon.org/sign/stop-us-navy-plans-to-1?mailing_id=8845&source=s.icn.em.cr&r_by=1506217
Thank you,

Lyndia Storey, Kim McDermott, Lance Leonard, Wes Jordan
The Whale and Dolphin Watch Team 


 


This message was sent to AH by Lyndia Storey fro

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Video of Lemon Lips and B.B. Tip

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Hi All,
These clips show Lemon Lips coming back to see me then darting off. He was hard to keep in the frame because the Gopro is on my wrist and he kept circling. B.B. Tip came by occasionally but was a little ahead most of the time.
I met these calves last winter they are now a little over a year old. They stay with their mothers up to three years. They are still nursing.
We saw Shortie and Peanut yesterday but they won't swim with me. They don't even want our boat too close. I need JoJo or Bo to give me an introduction. JoJo tried but I had a mask malfunction and had to return to the boat.