Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Yes There really Is A JoJo

Hi All,
I spoke with Ralston Humble a fews days ago. He works for channel 4.  He'd heard JoJo had an injury and wanted to know how he was doing . He then told me that people at his news station didn't believe there was a JoJo; they thought he was a myth, nothing more than a publicity stunt! We then talked about how the captive dolphin program the government approved for Grand Turk was a terrible idea. I was eager to meet Ralston! We made a date for Sunday and he showed up right on time at the dock. After loading up all our gear and his, getting footage of our leaving the marina, we headed out to check on JoJo's injury and dispel the belief that he was a publicity stunt!
I don't think I've seen a more perfect day, very little wind and flat, crystal clear water. As we are cruising past the resorts, we hear a boat captain on the radio calling for help. He said he was hung up on the reef. He was trying to come into Blue Haven for fuel but was in completely the wrong place. After many radio transmissions trying to determine where he was, we decide to see if he was ok. We also thought it was news and we have a reporter on board. We figured the boat was outside of Sandy Point on North Caicos. We speed up there and found a sailing vessel which was by now inside the reef but in very shallow water. We radioed the boat and the Captain said he was ok but scraping the bottom and the police boat was on it's way to help him out. I was against trying to guide him out for fear we too would get hung up on the reef.
Back to the mission of finding JoJo! We travel along Pine Cay toward Leeward Cut and as we are coming to Half Moon Beach we hear over our radio "Spy Hop, he's outside of Little Water Cay". We give big thanks to that captain and speed up until we are right near Little Water Cay. There's JoJo coming to our boat just like I told Ralston he would if he were in the area. I drop into the unbelievably clear water to first check on his gashes. The big one still looks awful with lots of white stuff coming out of it. I'm sure it's healing from the inside out but it's not evident. JoJo however is feeling just fine. We swim around the boat giving Ralston plenty of time to get great footage from the boat. In JoJo like fashion, he looks up into the camera as he surfaces. I see Norm a boating friend of ours and swim toward his boat with JoJo following. As we get to the boat, JoJo goes right over and all the ladies in the boat get to gush over him. After much oohing and ahhing, we return to Spy Hop. Ralston is getting lots of JoJo behavior footage! JoJo and I swim a little toward the reef, he starts to echolocate then dives down to fish. I get to see him echolocate on his side right along the bottom then pump his fluke hard to reach the spot where the fish is in the sand. He plunges his beak into the sand and comes up with a 4" wiggly, white fish hanging out of his mouth. He swallows it whole then starts the process again. This makes me very happy. He has a healthy appetite and is successfully catching fish. Now, he's speeding up and I lose sight of him. I get back in the boat to tell Ralston what's happening under the water. Another boat comes by and seeing us, they slow down to see if JoJo's around. The Captain drops anchor, a sure way to get JoJo to come over. When JoJo arrives two swimmers climb in hoping for a chance to swim with him. He swims away keeping about 15 feet in front of them.  He then goes up to another boat, that has stopped to see the famous "MYTH". Now he gets behind their boat and stays there as they motor toward shore. He clearly wants a ride so, John swings by him and JoJo settles into our wake. We now go back up Pine Cay to the end of Fort George where he branches off.  Ralston is getting the picture in more ways than one! JoJo returns to our stern and we take him down Pine Cay, a very long island, past Leeward and all the way to Grace Point where he branches and goes back to fishing. We have now been with JoJo at least 5 hours. I can safely say we have dispelled the JoJo is a myth theory as well as making my point that dolphins should not be in a small cement enclosure when they clearly travel many miles a day.
JoJo is now close to behaving normally, which is a huge relief to me. He didn't interact with all boats that came near and what interaction he did have seemed shorter. He also took advantage of our "taxi service" but we had to go much slower than normal. We'll keep checking on him everyday to see how he's doing.
Ralston was great company on the boat. He totally got my friendship with JoJo. He could see the trust  I've taken time to build up. I think he'll do a great story for the news including my concerns with captains coming to close and how captive dolphins goes against the island slogan "Beautiful by Nature".

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