Thursday, February 7, 2013
A Day In Cetacean Paradise
It started out with the Cuban crows making a racket outside our condo. I knew that was a good sign! The water was pretty flat when we headed out and got better and better as the day went on. By the end of the day there was no wind at all.
We headed out toward Grace Point as we usually do and as we progressed every boat Captain pointed toward Turtle Cove. Off we went at speed. When we arrived at the buoys marking the channel, we radioed Alister, the Captain of the Under Sea Explorer, that we heard there were dolphins coming his way. It was a bit premature since we didn't see any! We looked around a little then started to head back toward Grace Point and noticed two boats stopped. As we approached, we saw one, then three, then four dolphins. I hopped right in and Lemon Lips zoomed right over!! It apparently was play time as both Lemon Lips and B.B. Tip kept coming right to me whizzing around then zipping off usually upside down. We all swam together for a long time with lots of interaction. It was clear so I got great video footage of all the activity.
Raggedy Ann went off on a mission and left Bo in charge of the calves. She was cool with me swimming near her as the calves played and came by. She was on my left and they were on my right. It is truly an honor to have her trust me so much with her charges.
At one point she and Lemon Lips were on the bottom exploring and Lemon Lips came up with a Puffer fish. He had it in his mouth, let it go it, started to swim away and grabbed it again only to let it go, again. The dazed little fish slowly swam off apparently unharmed. I would guess Lemon Lips was only playing with it.
Raggedy Ann returned and the dolphins started to swim in formation with the calves right under their respective moms. They were heading past OC and eventually along Pine Cay which is where we lost sight of them. In the mean time, we heard from Alister that JoJo and another showed up near his boat. The Under Sea Explorer is a glass bottomed, "semi-submersable" that allows passengers look at the reef from an underwater viewing area. He said that at the end of the trip JoJo followed him into Turtle Cove where Alister keeps the Under Sea Explorer.
John and I figured maybe all the dolphins would show up at the North end of Pine Cay at the end of the day. That spot is a favorite meeting place.
We however couldn't find anyone so decided to head back down the coast toward Leeward and see if the moms and calves doubled back or if JoJo was heading our way.
We saw Andy another boat Captain who told us JoJo was a little way back heading in our direction. We went off to find him.
As we approached the red buoy that marks a reef outside of Little Water Cay, JoJo popped up in-front of our boat and turned over as we glided over him, one of the signals that he's looking for a ride. We turned back toward Pine Cay again and JoJo got in our wake. As we expected he was on his way to the North end of Pine Cay. However, when we finally got there after his branching off to fish and do dolphin things then repeatedly ask for another ride, there were not only no other dolphins but JoJo disappeared. I think he'd had plenty of interaction that day and was done with us humans!
We headed out toward the reef enjoying how perfectly flat the water was. My plan was a little payback for all he boat driving John had done. I thought we could fit in a snorkel where John got to get in the water.
As we got to the cut in the reef, there in front of us was a spout!! Three humpback whales were milling around, Mom, calf and escort all near the surface. The calf started breaching clear out of the water. John got in and all three swam right by him and around the boat. Just like with the dolphin calves the whale calves are all rambunctious and curious.
Does it get any better than that!!