Sunday, March 1, 2015

JoJo Encounter

Hi All,
I'm a little late getting this out because the internet has been down.
The weatherman had predicted strong winds and choppy seas but as we come out of Leeward, the water looks great. Whenever the wind is from the East the seas tend to get flattened on Grace Bay. I'm really hoping to see JoJo because it's out last day for this trip and because I want some more footage of his gashes. I thought the last time I looked at them three days ago, the big one had a yellowish tinge and I didn't like the looks of that.
We cruise past Beaches looking for JoJo and find him heading towards our boat. Did he find us? It is the time of the morning when all the tour boats are picking up tourists and bringing them to various snorkel sights or beautiful white beaches. As they get near our boat they look to see if JoJo is with us. I usually signal them if he is so they can come by to see the famous JoJo. This morning we have at least 12 boats pull up beside us with people peering out trying to see JoJo. As soon as he surfaces they all gasp ohh and ahh. We see jaws dropping, cameras flashing and everyone pointing. The captains wave a thanks and off they go only to have another one come up. This goes on until the last tour boat has made its way by us.
JoJo decides he would like to do some fishing and branches off at Leeward. He likes to fish in the channel because there is lots of activity with marine life passing through that channel including a multitude of fish. I've seen him chase Bar Jacks there on many occasions. After a half hour of fishing he heads toward Pine Cay and as we pass him, he once again gets in our wake. He wants to go to the end of Pine Cay where the water is pretty rough out by the reef. He branches off and appears to be looking for other dolphins but doesn't find any. We lose sight of him in the big waves and decide to head into the channel between Dellis Cay and Fort George Cay for a little lunch. As we turn in John sees JoJo heading into that channel.  We eat our lunch and watch JoJo getting his.  He's going from one end of the channel to the other fishing. It's great to see he can now comfortably fish without the gashes bothering him. For a long time he was only able to crater fish where he could swim slowly along the bottom finding his prey in the sand. In the channels he's going after bigger swimming fish. We see turtles popping their heads up surprised to see us drifting along near them. There are bone fisherman wading around in the shallows with their flat bottom boats near by. There is one tour boat with tourists who are also watching JoJo fishing. One starts clapping his hands. Hmm, does he think JoJo will come like his dog???
After an hour and a half, JoJo seems to have had his fill and starts heading back toward Grace Bay. We once again drive by and he gets in our wake. We are quite accommodating! As we are motoring along, I signal to a small tour boat that we have JoJo with us and they also come by. The captain gets on his radio and asks that if we stop and if it wouldn't interrupt our encounter could they swim with JoJo. We were planning on stopping where the water is clearest so I could get some footage of his cut. We were hoping JoJo would accommodate us and stay around. I tell the captain to stop with us and when I get out they could come in the water to see JoJo. John stops the boat near Beaches where the water is always clear and I get in. I tell the other boat to drop anchor hoping that will keep JoJo around for them to see him.  JoJo heads right down their anchor line. Because his cuts are healing, just like us they really itch and that anchor line gives him a great opportunity to scratch. I was hoping these people would just watch this wonderful dolphin, however they got very pushy about seeing him. I warned them that if he opened his mouth they would need to back off. You will see in the video how the good free diver with blue swim trunks gets in JoJo's space. At first you can see how excited he is to get great footage with his camera. He then gets more and more aggressive trying to interact with JoJo who just wanted to scratch his itchy cuts. Finally, the swimmer starts traveling down the anchor line like JoJo. I tried to tell them to back off and just watch instead of getting in JoJo's space.  After blue suit goes down the line JoJo has had enough and he and I swim off. You will see in the film clip that his gash is closing and looks very healthy. There is a section of the film that JoJo is following me and I'm trying to swim backwards while filming without having water go down my snorkel! You will also see JoJo have a quick snack as he crater fishes.
JoJo then decides to head back to the tour boat for one last scratch. Most of the snorkelers are back on the boat. JoJo gets a few runs up and down the anchor line before they all get back in the water. I'm asking them again to back off and let him swim to the top of the line without getting in his way. I just don't understand why they can't enjoy watching him without getting in his space. Blue suit is again following him all over with his camera. JoJo stops and stares at him. He was warning this guy to stay off the anchor line. Blue pants persists. He's at the bottom of the line following JoJo and JoJo opens his mouth threatening him. FINALLY blue pants gets the message, puts his camera behind his back and swims away. JoJo had had enough and starts to head away from their boat and pushy people. He waits for me to join him and we left. John came by with Spy Hop and I climbed on as JoJo got in the wake. I was upset that people can't just enjoy the opportunity to watch this amazing dolphin without getting in his personal space.
By the time we got up to Pine Cay, I had stopped fuming and was watching the sun starting to set. We were traveling along by the reef and the water had settled down from the morning. I mentioned to John that on our last day it would be really cool to see a whale breach. Just as I said that, I saw a blow right across the reef from us!!! JoJo in the wake, a whale across the reef! Decisions decisions! We kept to our mantra always stay with JoJo until he branches if at all possible! Now, we had a problem. What if JoJo wants to go way up to North Caicos? The sun's going down and John has to bring Spy Hop back to the Shipyard where it stays when we are away. Solution! We see a big sail boat anchored at the end of Pine Cay. We know JoJo will want to check out this boat if we come close enough to it. As we get near, I yell to the passengers "I'm bringing you a dolphin!" The respond, "Is it JoJo?" we tell them yes as he heads their way! We head back at top speed so John can bring the boat around to the other side of the island where it will stay for three weeks until we return.
I'm hoping people will respect JoJo's space. It worries me he will get the reputation he had years ago of being aggressive and sometimes biting people. He is such a nice, wonderful dolphin that is happy to have people watch him. If they could only understand he wouldn't dream of hurting anyone if they would just respect his space.

1 comment:

  1. Thank You for posting! Appears he's healing well. . Wonderful News!