Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Time To Go Home




                                                          BE BACK IN 2 WEEKS

Monday, December 29, 2014

Making Sure I'm There

Hi All,
                                             Humphrey as I call him frequents Ocean Club.

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We are down to our the days of December and the last days of this trip. I so want to see if any of the dolphins I know have had a calf. I keep hearing that others have seen JoJo with a mother and calf but we haven't. John slows down to look at another boat to see if they have a dolphin around when PFFFF I hear JoJo right beside the Spy Hop. He must have been coming to find us! We once again spend the day taking JoJo up and down the coast. He occasionally stops to see if any other dolphins are around or to entertain a tour boat. There was no pay off. We didn't find others (YET). I included a shortened video from two days ago when he scratched on the anchor line and then took me with him toward the reef. He's looking back at me as if to be sure I was coming along.
Jay

Saturday, December 27, 2014

JoJo Having the Best Anchor Line Scratch

Hi All,
How lucky are we! There's JoJo behind White Sands a big World Cat catamaran motor boat. We had just been hiding back in the channels to escape a rain storm and decided to come out onto Grace bay. JoJo stays in their huge wake all the way to the beach on Pine Cay where they pull in and anchor. JoJo stays around briefly but perhaps due to the many people trying to swim with him he moves off toward Pine Cay. We pick him up and our day is back to taking him where ever he wants. I feel he's really, really wanting to find some friends as he takes us up and down the coast occasionally branching to call and see any one's around.  On our second trip to Pine Cay he branches and swims around in the same area but doesn't want to take a ride This Is My Moment!! Besides wanting to scratch all over his body including the very tip of his fluke (tail) he has an awesome melon(head) scratch. In between sessions of screeching he swims around Spy Hop then back to the anchor line. At the very end of this wonderful scratch he heads slowly out toward the reef after coming really close and looking at me. Was he saying none of my friends are here you'll have to do? Or maybe, want to come to the reef? Anyway I am honored as always to go with him.
This is a long clip I had a hard time cutting anything out! The part where he comes to look at me had a bubble on the screen but maybe tomorrow I'll attach some of it anyway.
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Jay

Friday, December 26, 2014

Xmas With JoJo

Hi All,
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Beautiful, beautiful day here in Turks and Caicos only made better by hearing it's pouring and nasty at home in New England. We haven't seen JoJo in two days although I hear he was in front of The Sands resort with a calf. I am dying to meet the calf and see if I know the mom. I'm perched on the bow watching the water like a hawk when John says, "Come back here". I'm thinking really? Take my eyes off the water just when we are opposite The Sands where people saw him? I turn back to the stern and there's JoJo in our wake!! He snuck up on us! He usually comes to the front, flips over on his back, scares me half to death, glides under the boat and resurfaces in our wake. In 15 years we have never hit him but it still gives me a fright! Off we go up and down the coast, Turtle Cove to Pine Cay then back. He branches off just beyond Seven Stars and swims right into the swim area. We are right in front of "flipper lady's" resort. Lady Tamara, the Seven Stars boat is sitting there with Santa aboard. I think they are waiting for passengers.  JoJo is circling their boat. I think he's going into sleep mode so I join him as he circles. From shore, I'm hearing "there's JoJo" and see people swimming madly out. I see Sheila (flipper lady) and tell her to come meet JoJo. The others never quite make it there. John's put down the anchor hoping to keep JoJo around our boat. JoJo enjoys a few trips up and down the line to scratch a few itches. Sheila gets to meet JoJo before he and I head off for a nice swim with a trip to the buoy. He likes to watch it as I kick it with my foot. As we are swimming along there are Hobies and crazy motor boats dragging various rubber sharks and other toys loaded with tourists. Under the water however, it's very peaceful with JoJo. I'm loving it other than worrying that I might get run over! JoJo wants to move on so, I climb back in and we pick up JoJo in our wake. Many more trips up and down the coast. By now all the boat captains (at least 15 of them) know he's in our wake. They start bringing their boats right beside us so their tourists can see the famous JoJo. I think that was JoJo's Xmas present to all.

Monday, December 22, 2014

JoJo and Raggedy Ann

Hi All -
The wind that was supposed to come up yesterday is here today. After doing our usual dolphin circle, we are thinking about going back early to get caught up on life when we see a tour boat circling in a dolphin-sighting like way. I see a dorsal to the right of the boat and notice everyone staring off to the left. So JoJo's entertaining the crowd and his friend is off fishing. I get in and there's a dolphin flying along the bottom in hot pursuit of a fish. She comes up and looks right at me then lets me follow close behind. Her fluke has the familiar snip out of it so I know it's Raggedy Ann. I am feeling quite warm and fuzzy that she seems to want me there. She speeds up to continue her quest for fish when I notice another dolphin right behind me. That of course is JoJo. They join up and even over the noise of my scooter I can hear loud whistling. Hmm what's that about? I get back into Spy Hop and we watch them separate to do more fishing. Soon we are opposite the Leeward Cut. Up pops another dorsal. It appears to be a young frisky dolphin that is totally uninterested in swimming with me! I'm hoping JoJo will come make an introduction but they never get together. I'm not sure if the whistling was for the other dolphin and if so why didn't they get together? If I could only ask!

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I'm including some video from the other day that has beautiful Bo cruising along the bottom on her side while she echolocates a tasty morsel.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

JoJo's Ladies

Hi All,
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There's a forecast for increasing winds as the day goes on, but it looks great to me. We start out of Leeward heading in our usual direction but don't see any dorsals. We decide to go to Smith's Reef which  is one of the best snorkeling sites around. You can get there by boat or swim to it from shore. We find lots of turtles, my favorite, Eagle rays, and two large schools of Horse Eyed Jacks. One of the rays is nosing through the sand to find shellfish morsels. The best way to find an Eagle ray is to look for a cloud of sand as you swim through the sea grass.
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We cruise Grace Bay again with no luck and decide to go out the South Side just in case there is a dolphin meeting where JoJo brought us the other day. After 12 miles straight out, all we see is nothing, not today! On our return trip, a boat captain starts waving and pointing. We're off through Leeward and out on to Grace Bay looking for dolphins.
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We see a yellow boat traveling slowly and sure enough JoJo's in the wake. We wait for them to turn in a direction he doesn't want to go and pick him up in our wake. He's off toward Pine Cay right behind us. John spots more dorsals ahead. We turn towards them. We expect JoJo to branch off but, he stays in our wake. Soon there are three dolphins surfing the wake behind our boat side by side. As they get further and further out, still surging in the wake, John stops and they keep coming right toward our boat. Clearly, that's my invitation. I see JoJo, Raggedy Ann (RA) and a beautiful dolphin with no marks or scars. Could it be Bo? There is a lot of contact between her and RA and they are obviously great friends. She comes up to look at me. Now, I know for sure it's Bo. I haven't seen her since February! She has always been friendly with me with or without JoJo. We start to swim towards Pine Cay. JoJo falls in behind RA, Bo and me. He now has all his favorite ladies!
For some reason I'm not clever enough to place videos where I want them. Hopefully you'll see Horse Eyed Jacks first; RA and Bo with JoJo right behind me; then Bo coming to say "Hi". JoJo does seem to want me right with his other lady friends:)
Jay


Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Panto

Hi All,
Turks and Caicos has a very active performing arts community. One of their events is the pantomime. The pantomime is based on old English vaudeville theatre. This year A Caribbean "Sleeping Beauty" was the production. It was hilarious,witty and dazzling! There is much audience participation with clapping, booing, singing and cheering. There are plenty of digs no one came out unscathed including local personalities, businesses and of course the government! Although it's a stage production, there was video section in the middle. This portion had the three good fairies in outrageous costumes hurtling through town on a lime green rent a buggy with Muddles the court jester and Nanny Antonella the gay nanny all hanging out as they went chasing down clues trying to find where the prince and JoJo were in jail! This was truly hilarious as a camera filmed them going in and out of places hunting down clues.
To my great enjoyment, they got in a lot of digs at the captive dolphin program that the government is trying to start. When the evil Malificent takes JoJo to jail, there is thunderous boos and jeers from the audience. JoJo was in evidence through out the production either dancing to the music or in jail. He is truly a beloved dolphin in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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To catch you up on what JoJo is up to! He was traveling with two others and again tried to bring me to them but I was too slow. This is a short clip of JoJo in front of Seven Stars.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

JoJo Meets up with a Dolphin on the South Side

Hi All,
This morning I'm hoping we will find out if the calf from yesterday is in fact Raggedy Ann's. JoJo however, has another plan. We see him following the Beaches catamaran, The Katt. We figure they will head off in a direction he doesn't want to go and he will join us! The Katt heads into Leeward and JoJo is right behind them until they turn around. JoJo wants to head out the South Side again. He gets in our wake and stays there way past where we brought him the other day. We are almost out of sight of land when he branches off. I'm watching like a hawk not wanting to lose him again and dying to know what he's up to. He pokes around a little then a shape appears and there's the answer. I get in to meet this dolphin and try to identify it. JoJo does his best to introduce me. I'm sure I've never seen this one before. I think it's a she and she's quite shy with me but very playful and frisky with JoJo. I wish I knew whether this was a planned meeting or a coincidence. I hope you enjoy the snippets of video I got of her. JoJo is the bigger dolphin who is almost always closer to me.
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Breakfast With JoJo

Hi All,
JoJo graciously takes me along with him as he has a few fish snacks for breakfast. I'm watching him swing his head back and forth as he echo locates than dives down to grab his prey. Now he wants to get going so, he heads toward Turtle Cove. I get back into the boat to accommodate his wish and he rides the wake. No one here, so back we go all the way to the end of Pine Cay searching, searching where are my friends?
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We lose him and motor off to the marina for gas figuring he'll be somewhere around Pine Cay when we get back. Yes! There he is and we see a little dolphin near him. I'm sure that's what he's been looking for. I get in with JoJo and he tries to take me to the calf but I'm too slow. We wait. There seems to be a flurry of activity and we see more shapes in the water. A big dolphin surfaces making a fishing dive. We can't make out how many there are. I get in.  As I get to the dolphins, one is hanging vertically in the water trying to get at something in a crevice between some rocks. JoJo is right there watching. He comes behind me and as I get closer I see the familiar fluke of Raggedy Ann. Exhilaration, mostly happy for JoJo that his best friend (wife?) is back. Now to find out if the calf is hers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

video and correct pics !!

video

Hi
here is the picture that shows his dorsal leading the way through the mega yachts
I am having problems uploading video so go to

JoJo Leads Me into New Territory

Hi All,
The weather hasn't been its usual sunny self. There seems to be a front stalled over Turks and Caicos making it cloudy and windy with high seas.
I'm dressed for adventure in my wet suit and eager to find JoJo despite the cold. As we head toward Grace Point, an "Island Vibes" boat is picking up people from their resort. The captain is waving us over.  He tells us JoJo was in Turtle Cove when he left the Marina. Off we go. John and I are both remembering the days when we would not only be getting soaked but bounced all over in Catch Ride.
We head into the Marina looking for JoJo's dorsal but see no sign of him. We head back hoping he went toward Grace Bay. He did!
He pops up in front of our bow at Coral House, flips over on his back and glides under Spy Hop. We figure we are off to the end of Pine Cay. We are wrong! He branches at the Leeward Cut and heads into the channel. Not just into the channel, but through the docks where the mega yachts are tied up. I am in the water following along past all these enormous boats. People are peering down from the decks to see what the heck is going on! JoJo checks a few out as he goes by then vanishes under the dock. I'm not swimming under that dock even to follow my buddy!! John brings Spy Hop, which now looks like a toy boat amongst all these mega yachts, into the docking area to pick me up. The question is which way did he go??? I think maybe he went through the Marina and out to the South Side. This would be only the second time we have followed him through Leeward in all the 15 years I've known him.
We find him he is right opposite the conch farm in very shallow water. They actually grow conchs in this fenced off area. It looks like a field of round pens!! It's a good thing too because the conchs are dwindling from over harvesting. Many places in the Caribbean and Florida have protected the Queen Conch. Turks and Caicos still thinks there is an unlimited supply.
I get in the water to find JoJo chasing two juvenile nurse sharks. They really are cute when they are little. He's darting around, too fast for me to follow so I climb back in Spy Hop. He now wants to catch a ride. We take him way out past the wreck in the direction of South Caicos. He then branches off and is gone. I'm looking and hoping to see the two boys from the other day. I'm sure he's out here looking for them. I hope he finds them.
JoJo taking through the yachts 



Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ted's video

Hi All
This is a great video of the channels and dolphins. Unfortunately it doesn't show when Lemon Lips got more friendly but it sure shows how I can't see anything on my first attempts.
Enjoy
Jay

Thursday, December 11, 2014

South Side

Hi All,
The afternoon I arrived the water was its usual dazzling self. The ocean was flat as I went for a nice long swim to wash away any jet lag. I did notice a slight swell but didn't think a thing about it as I started preparing for the next days adventure in the boat.
Since John was coming down later after attending a convention, I hired Eddie a boat captain. Eddie grew up on South Caicos and knows the water well. There isn't anyway I can get in the water without someone manning the boat. I invited two good friends who wanted to get some dolphin footage and check out Spy Hop.
Morning arrives and I hear the surf pounding from my condo. Hmmm, not good. Apparently during the night a front from the north pushed some big swells down towards the islands.  As we poked our nose out of Leeward, the waves are huge and there is a stream of tour boats coming to the South Side looking for quiet water.
Eddie tells us he has seen dolphins out near the channels on the back of North Caicos. We head out hoping to find some. After not spotting any dorsals, we start exploring the channels. If I can't be with dolphins there's no greater place to be. The channels are lined with mangroves. Birds are hiding in the branches and fish are swimming in and out of their massive root systems. There is a whole community of wildlife based around these channels. The mangroves are the driving force. Their long roots reach down trapping sand to form mud flats and the roots are busy turning the salt water into fresh water to nourish the rest of the plant. Herons are screeching their disapproval of our coming to their private sanctuary. I'm looking for the little crabs that use leaves as rafts and mention this to Eddie who is familiar with them. He says it makes it easy for the fish to snap them up. I always thought of them being a sort of A La Carte crabs on a plate for the birds!
Eddie knows these channels like the back of his hand which is a good thing because one could easily get totally lost back there!! He expertly guides our boat through the narrow channels. The tide is coming in and creating a strong current making it tricky to keep our bigger boat from either getting caught up on a sand spit or run into the mangrove roots that reach out into the channel.  He takes us to a large mangrove island where the red mangroves tower above all the others. There must be over a hundred herons of all sizes covering the branches. They're most displeased with our approach and start flying away. Spectacular watching them fly off. Some disappear but others stay close by.  Perhaps they had their babies and didn't want to go far. We start off down another channel that magically comes out on the other side of the peninsula of land. I'm really taking mental notes so John and I can find it again. The mouth is well hidden and very shallow. Eddie has the motor trimmed up and we slowly sputter along until it opens up to a wide and fairly deep channel with the occasional turtle popping its head up.
The channel comes out on the other side of Muddy Point  behind Pine Cay and Delis Cay. Suz spots a dorsal and the fun begins:) We follow it along until as I expected, we see another dorsal. They come together and start playing with our boat crossing under the bow, turning on there sides and looking up at us. Ted is sitting with his long legs draped on either side of the bow taking video with a GoPro. When the dolphins come under the boat his feet almost brush their dorsals. When they slip out to the side, we get in front and I get in to see if I can swim with them. They come by but it's way too murky for me to even see them. In between my attempts of swimming with them they play with the boat darting to and fro under the bow.
We finally get into some clearer water where I can start to see them. They are whizzing around me in circles then off to the bow. Each time I try, I'm getting a longer swim with them. The smaller one seems to like me and I can now see that he has the same mark on his fluke that Lemon Lips has perhaps a little more tattered. Is it him? From the boat we are thinking, maybe male and female. We see them belly to belly. Are they mating? I get in again. NO definitely two males!! and they are aroused. They keep circling me and swimming under me. The water is maybe 4 feet deep. How fun is this! Off they go and as I climb in to Spy Hop I ask Ted if he'd like to get in when they come back around. He climbs in but they swim off. I'm curious to see if they will now swim with me again. This time, the little one circles me then lets me swim with him like I do with JoJo. Now I'm pretty sure it's Lemon Lips. Maybe the other one is B.B.Tip!  I get back on the boat totally exhilarated by our time together. A state of euphoria that comes from swimming with dolphins! They start to separate and we decide it's time to head home.

Jay