Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dolphins, Dolphins and More Dolphins

Hi All,
For my daughter's last day we had a day I couldn't have scripted any better. We came out of Leeward and as I looked toward the reef I saw a long flash in the water and wondered what I was seeing. Moments later two dolphins made high breaches right beside each other. We were then able to watch six dolphins traveling at speed toward Pine Cay breaching and fishing. The formation they were making looked like a large swath. I thought perhaps they were on a large school of fish. As we got almost to Half Moon beach, they all started for the boat. I thought that would be an oportunity to get in with them. JoJo was of course there when I got in however, when I looked down so was a large Nurse Shark that they were probably chasing at that moment. I got back on the boat not wanting the already harrassed Nurse Shark to take it out on me which has happened before. The next time I got in I could see JoJo, Raggedy Ann, a smaller male dolphin and a large male dolphin. They were vying for mating rights with Raggedy Ann. There was a lots of bashing and shoving going on. One of the males who was ready to mate was shoved out of the way. He had his male part out and dragged it through the sand. I couldn't tell whether the other dolphin got his way. It was very exciting and very physical down there! I did have the whole thing on camera but I'm having some real problems with our cameras so I will only put a little up as the rest didn't import correctly.
Once they all settled down, Julia and Frisky showed up. There didn't seem to be any residue from our fishing incident. I thought maybe Kristen could join me because she had now been accepted by Raggedy Ann and JoJo. I also felt the males had one thing on their minds and would be fine. I was right and Kristen got in and swam near JoJo as I went up with the others. They took us all the way to the shallow area in front of Dellis Cay where they spent three hours slowly swimming around. I'm sure from the patterns they were making they were in sleep mode. By this time our scooters were out of battery and all the cameras were out of commission! We stayed with them hoping to see where they would go next. I have always wondered where they went after they got past Pine Cay. There are three channels they could go out or they could go over the reef. Today they moved toward the reef then vanished! I would assume they or some of them did go over the reef. Seeing I didn't actually see the dorsals heading over the reef, I still don't know for sure.
We headed back toward Leeward thinking we had had a great day and were ready to go in. Not twenty minutes had gone by when Kristen spotted a huge splash across the reef. Of course we had to see if it was a whale. When we got past the reef, we started seeing many, many dorsals. There was a huge pod of Bottlenose dolphins heading back toward Pine Cay. Perhaps that was the pod the others were waiting to join??? Kristen and I got in a few times. They were every where. By the last time, we got in they were swimming all around us. Some coming from way down in the blue staring at us the whole way as they came up to get a closer look. Some of the calves circled at speed the way they always do.  Without the scooters running, we could hear so much whistling and of course there were bubble trails from the whistles. As the sun started to set, we got back in the boat and headed for the marina, our heads filled with images of dolphins swimming around us.

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