Monday, November 28, 2016
Hi All, This is what I wait for! This is the best!!! It's our last day before heading home for a few weeks. We head out of Leeward searching Grace Bay in front of all the resorts then head all the way up past Pine Cay. I'm hoping to find dolphins out by the reef where we have been finding them before. The sun is glistening on the water and although the wind is making it cold the spectacular color of the sky and water are amazing. I'm thinking how lucky we are to be here away from the gloomy grey weather at home. I'm looking to warm up so we head into the channel between Dellis Cay and Fort George Cay. After a brief lunch sitting in the sun we start heading out the channel. I see a dolphin coming our way. It acts like JoJo but I don't think it's him. I get in and find Whizzer and Bo. Bo was the one who seemed to be showing herself as if to say, "here I am". They are behaving very differently than usual. Lots of circling, Bo coming right by me, not the usual slow traveling with Whizzer darting all over. Bo seems to be reprimanding Whizzer. I captured it on the video at the very end.
Hi All, My friends Abby and Robin who are tuned into island events on shore, invited us to a fund raiser for the TC (Turks and Caicos) SPCA. The organization does an amazing job taking care of the huge population of feral dogs and cats on the island. They also have programs to help save the endangered rock iguanas and the horses and donkeys on Grand Turk. We walked into the large auditorium with over 400 happy people all here to support the TCSPCA. The performance was CABARET. Who would have guessed there was so much talent on the island! The singing was great, mostly done by none other than Josie who teaches free diving and is the "mermaid" that entertains passengers on the Undersea Explorer! The dancers were terrific all wearing great costumes which must be hard to figure out on island! The whole place went wild at the conclusion. No one wanted it to end! This island has a large population of fun people that really support important issues. It was a real tribute to the TCSPCA. On another note, I mentioned we hadn't seen the iguanas at all this trip and I've received had some questions about them. Here's a picture. We went back again to be sure they were ok and saw this male and a female come along hoping for hand outs.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Hi All, Yesterday, the weather was so nasty that frankly I hoped I wouldn't see a dolphin! (yes that's a first!) We took one pass down the coast then holed up in the channel. We did a little raisin-training when one hungry big male iguana came to visit. Today however it's warmer the wind is only 20 mph and there is some sun. Leeward Cut is looking much more inviting. We head out toward the resorts and JoJo seems to be waiting for us. He heads right to our boat with energetic pump of his tail, flips over and glides under the boat while we are motoring along. I know he's done it a million times but I still hold my breath. We figure out he wants to go toward Pine Cay. We adjust our direction accordingly and head into the wind and waves. The big sailing catamarans glide through the waves but Spy Hop bucks up and down spraying us with each big roller. Once we get to the end of Pine cay JoJo wants to return down the coast! We figure out why he's searching when we see two dorsals bobbing up and down out near the reef. In the mean time we'd talked to Rock captain of Sail Provo on the radio telling him JoJo and a mother and calf are in the area. He sails his big catamaran over. All the dolphins are now swimming around the catamaran. I think the Rock is telling his passengers that the (crazy) lady in Spy Hop swims with these dolphins. I think he was hoping for a show! I oblige and climb in. JoJo comes right up and takes me to Bo and Whizzer. I have a few nice swims although the waves make it hard to find them. We loose them as they make their way toward the end of Pine Cay.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Hi All, It's a sunny but windy day here on Provo. We decide to stay in instead of battling the waves. This gives me some time to report my finding on JoJo's abrasion that you might have noticed in the videos. Whizzer also has a mark on his right side. When I see any cuts that I have a question or concern about I ask Mark the well known and respected island vet to take a look at the pictures and give me information. "JoJo's looks like a linear scrape with an abscess type lesion in the middle of it. (He) may have bumped into something like a sharp piece of coral or rock, and a small piece of it got imbedded and is working its way out. Either way, looks like an older injury that is on the mend. The younger one's marks could be also from sharp coral or even a wreck piece or possibly a set of teeth either in play or anger. It too is older."
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Hi All, We leave Leeward Cut laden with cameras, water scooters and wetsuits. It's still cool but the sun is shining making the water glisten. We have invited our good friends Abby and Robin who own a house on Long Bay. They have come with hopes of swimming with the famous JoJo. After one trip up and down the coast, I suggest making the trip again before heading up to Pine Cay. Our friends are beginning to think they are bad luck. I pointed out it was only ten am and there was lots of time for the search. Shortly there after JoJo pops up clearly wanting a ride. After one false start, John figures out which way JoJo wants to go. All is well until White Sands comes along. She is a large catamaran yacht and a favorite of JoJo's. JoJo makes a beeline for their wake. They actually turn around to accommodate JoJo's desire to go toward Turtle Cove. I know they will have to turn around soon and resume the route they were originally on. Andy our friend and Captain of White Sands is familiar with JoJo's catching a ride in his wake. As predicted his passengers tire of watching JoJo in their wake and are ready to resume their trip in the other direction up the coast. JoJo now waits for us to come past and gets in our wake. Before we reach Beaches, JoJo wants to do some visiting so he branches off. I suggest to Abby and Robin to get in because this might be their best chance to swim with him. JoJo swims around checking out his new admirers before heading out with me to check out a buoy. We play a little "bang the buoy" before he heads out to surf a wave. As always, I get left behind when goes off to surf. Once he's surfed a few waves he's ready to continue down the coast, past Turtle Cove and into Crystal Bay. John picks his way through the coral heads until we are almost opposite Northwest Point Resort which is almost at the end of Provo. There JoJo goes into sleep mode where he circles our boat for over an hour. When dolphins into sleep mode they are resting half their brain with the other half watching out for predators. This once again gives Robin and Abby plenty of opportunity to swim with JoJo. It is now my chance to have a long swim with JoJo who has come out of sleep mode and wants to slowly make his way back toward Turtle Cove. The great part about this stretch of water is the coral heads make the boating tricky which keeps most boats away from this area. We have a long swim with a stop to scratch in the finger coral. I can barely see the boat we have traveled so far. I signal John to come pick me up before he looses sight of us completely. As soon as he starts the motor, JoJo turns to cut off Spy Hop so he can take a ride! We have now been with him for almost five hours. My friends have an appointment so we head in leaving JoJo in front of Beaches. https://vimeo.com/192553668
Hi All, Another windy day in paradise, it seems we are in a weather pattern that won't go away! Apparently the wind is supposed to strengthen for tomorrow which is good news for the kite boarders but not great for dolphin sightings! We traveled up and down the coast and as we were heading past Ocean Club John noticed a dorsal. We had a short visit from Whizzer before Bo his mom called him away. We had no idea which way they went and never found them again. The murky water was no help. https://vimeo.com/192694131 Whizzer
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Hi All, A cold front has indeed moved in. The sun however, is shining which makes a huge difference. Just like everyday this week, bright and early the water is pretty flat as we come out of Leeward Cut. We turn down the coast passing all the resorts without seeing a dorsal. As we swing around to come back the wind is starting to kick up. I decide, no dorsals, lets go out the South side where it will be flat. I know, more than likely we won't see any dolphins but I'm dying to be warm and not bounced around. After a brief visit to the wreck, we decide to head all the way up the back or south side to the channel between Fort George Cay and Dellis Cay. We haven't gone that way for quite awhile and hope the channel hasn't moved. The water is so shallow I pretty much hold my breath the whole way! If one looses heart and slows down, thereby having your boat come off the plane, you can count on remaining there until the next high tide! We make it in the cut without incident. It's the perfect place to have lunch. We are surrounded by beautiful turquoise water and pristine beaches. After lunch, we start heading back down the North or front side. I'm looking out by the reef where we have seen dolphins before. I see a dorsal. As soon as we locate the dorsal amongst the fairly large waves a little dorsal pops up right in front of our boat. Of course it's Whizzer! How lucky are we, to find them miles away from where we found them yesterday! When I get in I notice a cut on his right side which obviously isn't bothering him. By the time I get my gear on, he has gone down to Bo who is crater fishing. There are lots of Sea Biscuits on the ocean floor.I always think I'll come back and dive for some but the reality is we can never figure out just where we were! Eventually Bo and Whizzer move off through the big waves and we loose sight of them. We head back along the coast were the water is flatter. Just as we are about to get to Half Moon Beach which is almost at the end of Pine Cay, we see JoJo. We pass over him and he gets in our wake. He takes a ride past Leeward Cut then past most of the resorts. He branches and swims a little way toward the reef where he turns around and surfs a wave coming in. This is a form of dolphin fun. They just don't need a surf board. He spends quite a bit of time swimming out then surfing back. This is not a good time to swim with him because you can't keep up! I get my chance later when he comes over to our boat. We are now in front of Beaches Resort where there is a lot of boat traffic. Even with John looking out for me, I look up frequently to be sure I'm not going to be run over by a tour boat! I didn't think we were going to have a good dolphin day but it turned out to be a great dolphin day. Everyday I hope to see Raggedy Ann. She is Bo's best friend and JoJo's most favorite lady dolphin. She lost her calf two summers ago. I saw her last with Bo, Whizzer and JoJo a year ago. I hope she is okay and that she'll show up with JoJo one day. https://vimeo.com/192395465 The whole story!
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Hi All, The good news is it's sunny today. The bad news is we have the same wind getting stronger as the day goes on. Our strategy is get up early (that would be easy for ME) and be out there when the water is still flat before the wind kicks it up. Our strategy worked. John saw a little dorsal outside of Seven Stars. It was of course Whizzer. I had some fun with him before Bo called him to hurry up and swim with her. Once we caught up with them and Bo seemed to be doing a little fishing, I got in again. We had some quality time! Bo let me swim with her like JoJo does while Whizzer darted all over occasionally scaring me as he zipped in from behind going full throttle! Once he gets to Bo he always snuggles with her. Maybe someday he'll snuggle with me! As we approached Coral Gardens, a nice resort that has their own reef that is right in front, they disappeared. Since the waves were only getting bigger and the wind stronger, now was a great time to go back in the protected channels. I had brought along a few things for the iguanas but we didn't see any. It was gorgeous back there and I soaked up enough rays to finally warm up. https://vimeo.com/192270732 Bo and Whizzer
Friday, November 18, 2016
Hi All, Despite the high winds and big waves we were able to locate JoJo. He was swimming in front of the resorts on Grace Bay. He seemed to be going from buoy to buoy. Looking at buoys is a favorite activity of his. He especially likes it when I kick or push the buoy making it sway and bob in the water. I call the game "bang the buoy"! Today I didn't need to do anything since the waves were moving the buoys without my help. JoJo has what looks like a puncture wound on his left side. Compared to the many other cuts he has sustained, this is minor. JoJo seemed content to just hang around the area near Seven Stars. We offered him a ride in a couple of different directions but he wasn't interested. We eventually lost him in the high waves and murky water. I climbed on Spy Hop and tried to get warm. Just as I took off my wetsuit, got into a warm dry sweatshirt, a rain slicker and was starting to warm up, we see another dorsal and then a little dorsal! No wonder JoJo had been hanging around looking at buoys. He was waiting for Bo and Whizzer to show up! I tore off my nice warm cloths and slipped in. I would never miss the chance to swim with my little friend, Whizzer. He put on another nice show, swimming all around mostly upside down. He even blew more bubbles, swam up and then popped them. Toward the end I think Bo told him to come to her because he took off like a shot and we didn't see either of them again. We did however find JoJo again who, this time did want a ride past Turtle Cove and into Crystal Bay. The wind and waves were getting higher and JoJo decided to head off in another direction. We decided we had fulfilled our duty giving him a ride and we headed for home. https://vimeo.com/192209096 JoJo https://vimeo.com/192186003 Whizzer more bubbles
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Hi All, Truly today is not a good boating day! The sky is grey, the wind is getting stronger and stronger. Our boat is bouncing all over. We head out anyway toward Beaches. As we approach Grace Point, the condo is starting to look pretty good. I say to John who is feeling a bit under the weather anyway, lets turn around and head home. Now I'm huddled up looking out the back doing my best not to get any wetter, when I see a grey shape behind the boat!! JoJo has found us and is taking a ride! Bo and Whizzer must told him I was around! As we are rolling about in the sea I see a tour boat coming up behind us with some crazy tourists getting really wet and swaying erratically with each roller I imagine there was a bit of alcohol involved because they all looked quite happy. I signaled to the Captain that JoJo was with us and he came by so the tourists could see the famous JoJo. I'm sure that was the high point of their otherwise cold and wet day on the boat! https://vimeo.com/191983782
Hi All, I have set the bar high with first a JoJo,Whizzer and Bo day, then a spotted dolphin day. We spend the morning on the hunt for JoJo. We heard from various boat captains that he was on Grace Bay later in the day yesterday while we were playing with spotted dolphins. I start thinking up fun things to do to fill up our day in case we can't find him til afternoon. We get off the boat on Dellis Cay where there is a building project that failed leaving a monstrosity of halfway built houses over looking the ocean. If nothing else, they are a great landmark if you have become disoriented on the water. They are also a good place to get out of the rain if you get stuck out that way. Our Captain knows where the old cannons from the days of pirates are in front of Fort George Cay. We get in the water in front of Fort George Cay and find the cannons which are now covered in various ocean jewelry. I know this is a meeting place for dolphins so I'm procrastinating getting on the boat hoping someone may show up. Just as I climb in Spy Hop I see a dorsal which turns out to be two dorsals. Bo and Whizzer are by themselves today. I don't need any help from JoJo to swim with them. Actually Bo swims with me just as close as when I swim with JoJo. Whizzer of course is all over the place circling whizzing by upside down, zooming off, snuggling with mom etc. He checks in with Bo and they caress each other with their flippers. I finally get footage of Whizzer nursing it's like they wanted me to see because Bo flips over so I got a perfect view. Whizzer finds never ending amusement at nibbling his Mom's pec. I see a large contingent of jet skis coming. They respectfully slow down and Bo takes us over for a look, much to the delight of the jet ski riders. There is no better way to spend an afternoon than with dolphins! I could show you reams of footage but it was murky and it takes forever to publish from the island! You will see lots of Whizzer who is so easy to film. https://vimeo.com/171039895
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Hi All, Today isn't the most beautiful for Turks but the sea is flat. I haven't seen JoJo since last June and couldn't find him yesterday. We have the lady on board that told me about Turks and Caicos over 20 years ago. She is a travel agent from Massachusetts and has been following my blogs. The pressure is on to find some dolphins! After heading out of Leeward we follow the shore toward Turtle Cove, all eyes on the water. No Dolphins! We head back past Leeward gesturing to all tour boat captains to see if they have seen JoJo. They all give the arms out where's JoJo? gesture back. Now we are traveling along Pine Cay the beautiful private island where a few lucky people have houses. I see a dorsal out toward the reef. John skillfully maneuvers Spy Hop toward the dorsal. There are two dorsals. I whip on my flippers, grab my camera hope, I don't forget how to turn it on to the right program and slip in. John hands me my water scooter and I'm off to see if I know these dolphins. They let me come right up to them, of course it's Bo and Whizzer. Who else would be so trusting. Whizzer is in the usual traveling calf position right under Bo's belly. Bo glances back to see if it's me and lets me come close. Pretty soon she heads to the bottom to crater fish. Apparently this is Whizzer's cue to come see me. Bo eventually leaves for a long period of time leaving Whizzer to play with me. Whizzer has grown at least a foot in length and is heavier than when I last saw him in June. He has a bruise along his body that didn't break the skin. He seems to be trying to see how close he can whiz past me without running into me! Two tour boats have noticed our boat has stopped and come to see if we have found dolphins. Whizzer shows off a little riding the bow wave but returns to me. Bo in the mean time has returned to be sure all's ok with Whizzer.Once the tour boats leave Whizzer comes over and blows some really big bubbles, he then travels to the bottom and blows three more! I managed to get this on film. I notice there is lightening heading our way and decide we'd best head to shore but not before thanking my dolphin friends for an amazing morning in their company. I am hoping they tell JoJo I'm back in town! https://vimeo.com/191902975 our first meeting https://vimeo.com/191898263 Whizzer blowing bubbles!