Saturday, December 31, 2016
Hi All After a brief visit with JoJo and a few taxi rides, we left him to go off to lunch. On our return we gave him a ride again. The other day when I was traveling with Bo and Whizzer, Mark de Fraine came up on his jet ski. He wanted to introduce his sister to the dolphins. He told me about some fun he had with JoJo taking a ride. He sent me the link and I want to share it with you! You have Mark to thank for this! https://www.facebook.com/uniladmag/videos/2384332651589780/ JoJo is the ultimate ham. Dolphins really do know how to have fun! I have to go home for a week but will return to keep you updated!
Friday, December 30, 2016
Hi All, We are getting a late start this morning however, before we are even in the boat we get a call that three dolphins are near Little Water Cay. John is breaking all speed records as we fly to the marina. There are speed bumps or humps as they call them in Turks along the road to the marina. We sailed over them like they were moguls on a slalom course! Spy Hop has never left the marina so quickly. As we rip out of Leeward and turn right toward Little Water Cay we see a boat milling around in the other direction. It had all the characteristics of a boat with dolphins. We turn around and as we pull up, I see two dorsals. I get in and Bo and Whizzer swim right to me. I have never seen so much flipper footsie in one day. It's as if they were holding hands in this case pecs - Such a sign of affection. Bo then rubbed her pec on Whizzer's head. It looked like she was massaging his melon (dolphin head). Bo then swam to the bottom and lay there like the other day. She blew a big bubble. Just as she did that, JoJo appears. He doesn't swim close to either of them. This was no happy greeting. I think she was warning him to stay away. This time I had my camera and it was working! You will see all of this and it happened twice only the second time Whizzer blew the bubble. I assume this has something to do with timing, whether its Bo not wanting to mate or maybe not wanting JoJo be with Whizzer, I don't know. In any case I have seen JoJo calf sit for Whizzer and be very affectionate with Bo. I'm not sure what's up but I feel it's a timing issue. JoJo eventually leaves following another boat. Wish I knew what was going on! I feel for JoJo. He always gets so excited and happy to see other dolphins.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Hi All, We found JoJo visiting an Island Vibes boat. He was not interested in getting in our wake. First, he made a few appearances at various boats then started crater fishing in earnest. He started at Ocean Club and fished inside the swim lines all the way to Beaches. He was a few feet from swimmers and kayakers who never noticed! This video shows him swinging his head from side to side echo-locating to find fish under the sand, then diving down catch it. He got a tasty fish about four inches long then swam off to locate more. They eat them head first so all their fins and scales slide down better. Unlike us, dolphins can swallow (esophagus)and breathe (blow hole)at the same time.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Hi All, Looks like a nice day as we head out of Leeward. I have brought along a friend I met down here but comes from home, Watertown, MA. Once we do the resort dolphin circle which ends up at Leeward, we see huge ugly clouds pretty much everywhere. Now, we are on a sun search! It looks better towards Pine Cay so off we go. We finely find a little sun in the channel between Parrot Cay (movie star island) and Dellis Cay, eat an early lunch and hope the unpredicted rain cloud leaves. It starts to clear and turn into the day that was predicted. Back to the dolphins search. As we are passing Leeward there are two boats with toys tied on the back. The kids are bouncing along through the waves in their respective rafts. They slow down and we see a dorsal in the middle of all this activity. The boats and their rafts go one way and the dolphins go the other. We catch up to two dolphins which are Bo and Whizzer. I'm so excited to see them! It's been a few days and I've missed them. I'm rushing to get in. The water is all churned up from the wind in the past few days but I manage to stay with them. Pretty soon we start to attract a crowd. To be expected. Leeward is where everyone passes through to start or end their day. Bo goes to the bottom and again blows a big bubble but I couldn't hear whistling. After they surface, Whizzer goes nuts flying around, surfacing, falling over backwards, swimming on his back while surfing a wave and doing aerial leaps. What joyous fun he is having! He swims by me and swings his fluke so close it bumps me. I never purposely touch the dolphins but it seems he wants to touch me. I have run into JoJo on occasion but never on purpose. We are heading toward the far end of Pine Cay. I am tired and cold and climb out. I find that snorkeling for long periods of time when its wavy and murky makes me a little sea sick! The dolphins, like the other day don't want me to leave and keep coming to the back of the boat. I hate to disappoint them and really hate to leave them but we have an appointment with the mechanic again for a boat issue and must go.
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Hi All, First thing this morning I hear from a boat captain that the sixty-seven year old man in the orange kayak made it to shore! The wind and the current took him past Turtle Cove and into Crystal Bay where he made it to shore. That area is at the other end of the island from where we were yesterday. A reminder that things can go wrong so quickly on the water. I should also mention that our boat seems to be running just fine after our mechanic, Christian fixed it! We hear from Rock, who is the boat captain of Ariel a large catamaran sail boat that JoJo followed him out of Leeward Channel. We eventually locate him or he locates us! Now he's happily in our wake and we are heading toward Turtle Cove. We see Alive and Direct one of Big Blue's bigger boats. We call to them that JoJo is with us. They come by to see. I then tell them to pull ahead and drop anchor so maybe JoJo will swim with their people. As soon as we stop JoJo swims right over to their boat just as planned. He liked scratching on their anchor line so much he didn't want to come back to us! He gave their people many great chances to film as he swam up to many of them. We decide to head back down the coast and leave him with Big Blue. I was having camera issues and John makes a trip from shore up to our condo for a battery change. When he gets back all sorts of boat captains are signaling that JoJo is down by Beaches. He must have left Alive and Direct and was making his way slowly along the coast. We find him outside of The Sands and he happily takes a lift. Off we go past Pine Cay and Dellis Cay. We really want to be heading home but hate leaving him. No problem he follows us back! He even follows us into Leeward Channel. I have included some video from yesterday. There was so much it was hard to cut it down:)I don't think anything is cuter than Whizzer!
Saturday, December 24, 2016
Hi All, We are out early this morning knowing the wind will be building as the day goes on. John's busy fueling up and I'm arranging all the equipment and I see a big ballon fish swim by our hull. A great omen for this day! We go out and start the resort circle. I usually do it twice, just in case. I think sometimes they maybe out closer to the reef so I suggest going way out by the reef on our second pass. It pays off. I see a black streak in the water out by the Reef. I get in and Whizzer is nursing as I come up. They come close for a nice greeting then dive deep to search along the ocean floor for fish. Bo decides to go off and leave Whizzer with me. He comes up to play. I do some free diving for pathetically short periods of times and he watches. He plays with some ocean toys (weeds). We are swimming along when I see a shape heading our way I figure it's Bo but No. It's the hugest barracuda I've ever seen! Oh great I'm in charge off Whizzer will I have to fend off a barracuda? Whizzer luckily didn't want to investigate and changed course, so did the barracuda. My baby sitting skills weren't challenged! We are now on Grace Bay heading past Club Med. Bo has joined us and both dolphins are fishing under some coral. As we get closer to shore near Ocean Club, the water gets murky. John yells to me that he's heard over the radio that a big pod of dolphins are out past the reef at Little Water Cay. Intriguing, but I'm not leaving my friends! A dolphin with you is worth a pod somewhere beyond the reef! We continue past Coral House and toward Leeward. I get out briefly where it's so murky. I can't see a thing. A Big Blue boat joins us. They are the most respectful of the dolphins and of my relationship with them. We are now close enough to the beach that they are attracting a crowd who are following along on the beach. As the water gets slightly clearer I get in again without camera. Now they are heading out where the Beaches Catamaran has spotted them. I think we will be going for a visit but Bo slows down sinks to the bottom and lays there! Dolphins never stop moving or so I thought! She's whistling a lot and keeps whistling then blows a huge bubble. I was getting nervous because that's where we'd seen a Lemon Shark when Terrell was captain on Spy Hop. Whizzer doesn't seem alarmed so I wait and watch. JoJo appears!!!They all swim around happily. Then Bo Whizzer and I continue to Leeward. By now there are lots of boats all watching as we make our way toward Leeward. JoJo goes off to entertain another boat and we don't see him again. I have now worn out both scooters and am totally pooped and freezing. I may have a scooter but I'm always kicking to speed things up. I get on board feeling cold and slightly nauseous. The murky water makes me disoriented and I can get a little nauseous. We stay with the dolphins past leeward and toward Pine Cay.They keep swimming to the back of the boat and spy hoping. I'm upset that I can't get back in when they so obviously are inviting me to stay with them. Over the radio we hear a very frantic call. There is an orange kayak that is missing. The speaker comes on the radio shortly there after and states that there was a man in it. Then he comes on again and states that he's from Club Med, 67 years old and has white curly hair. The wind has picked up significantly and this guy was probably taken by the wind and can't get back. We are too far from Grace Bay to be of any assistance. I'm sitting and watching my friends swimming along at our stern wishing my energy would return (feeling my age!)Another Big Blue boat comes up. We tell them who the dolphins are and how long I've known them etc. One enthusiastic guy gets suited up with his snorkel and Go Pro. I can't tell people not to try because they aren't my dolphins. I am interested to see if in fact they will swim with someone else. The moment the guy enters the water both dolphins sink out of sight, then appear a good distance away. Selfishly this makes me a little happy! The truth of it is, I have swum with JoJo 17 years and it took about 4 years before he made introductions to other dolphins. I think I've earned their trust and friendship! We hear more pleas over the radio to please make contact with any information regarding this orange kayak. Then we hear, whales have been sighted out side the reef along Grace Bay. I have regained some energy but my scooters are dead. We are at the far end of Pine Cay. I think its time to head back with a quick whale check along the reef. A long story with a longer video! To be continued.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Hi All, Normally we would still be on the water, especially with it being calm today however engine trouble has shortened our day. After going past the resorts this morning, we headed out past the reef. He had heard that Big Blue had gotten in the water with a mother and calf yesterday. We put in our hydrophone and listened but didn't hear any whales or dolphins. John went to turn the motor back on and at first it didn't turn over. Not a good feeling especially past the reef!!!It did eventually turn over and we came back past the reef with a big sigh of relief. All seemed good as we headed back past the resorts. I saw two dorsals right at the swim line near Beaches. I got in and Bo came right up. It has been a few days and I was so happy to play with Whizzer. He was his usual crazy man self rocketing toward me then whizzing off. I noticed a new snip at the very end of his right pec and two new nicks on his head. He's so playful, I'm sure he got himself in trouble. I have to say the tiny snip out of his pec will be a way to recognize him in the future when he isn't with Bo. The nicks on his head will heal. He seemed to take great glee in coming out of the water and falling over on his back. We passed by Beaches and went over a large anchor that must have come off a big Beaches boat. You can see it in the video. Bo was going along rather quickly and Whizzer would hang with me then race up to Bo. I had gotten in the boat when we lost sight of them after passing by Seven Stars. We decided to go to Pine Cay have lunch and wait there because they were heading in that direction. When we arrived at Pine Cay, we started toward the reef to check out a possible dolphin sighting and the engine stalled again. Clearly it was time to head in and see if we can get it fixed this afternoon, before it wouldn't turn over at all.
Hi All, The wind is down and its beautiful on the water. We come across JoJo at half Moon Beach and he shows us which way he wants to head and we're off. Lots of tour boats come by with tourists oohing and aahing as he surfaces to breath. He takes us past Turtle Cove into Crystal Bay, branches off for twenty minutes then wants a ride back. On the way back there is a huge rain cloud that luckily we avoided.
Monday, December 19, 2016
Hi All, JoJo may have ditched us yesterday out on The South Side but he made up for it today. He stayed with us for over six hours! I chose to leave him in front of Little Water Cay. He wanted to go up and down the coast many, many times! We signaled to various tour boats that we had Jojo with us. They brought their tourists over to uhh and ahh at the famous JoJo. I think we contributed to global warming with all the fuel we used! I was happy to get the chance to check out his cuts up close. He then brought me for a great swim in clear water.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Hi All, As we leave the marina, I think I see something in the water maybe a turtle. Apparently it's not a turtle, it's JoJo. He comes right to boat then disappears only to show up again heading toward the South Side. Was he waiting for us?? He knows we always go where ever he wants and he has taken us out the South side before. When he did, he was going to meet a dolphin. Last year, I met Sponge Bob on a trip out the South Side. Another time there were three dolphins by the wreck. I have my hopes up that he's going to take us to either Sponge Bob or someone else. When he follows the boat in shallow water he has to stay out on the side. We head past the wreck that is fairly far out past the conch farm. It is so shallow the prop is dragging in the sand but we can't get going fast enough to get up on a plain or we will lose him. The farther we get from shore the bigger the waves get. We are way past the wreck and I'm looking in the wake but JoJo has branched and I can't find him. We look all over. I'm figuring we will see him with another dolphin but we can't find him. I was hoping for a dolphin meeting but it was not to be.
Hi All, In fact the wind has come up significantly! After dodging a few rain showers (not gripping could be at home freezing!), we hear from a boat captain JoJo is by Beaches. As we approach Beaches the captain of the snorkel boat radios us that JoJo is swimming around his boat. WE motor out to the boat and I slip in. JoJo wants to swim from the Beaches boat to Spy Hop. I think what he really was waiting for was a ride to Pine Cay. Once they motor off JoJo falls in behind us and we bring him to Pine Cay where we head into a channel and out of the wind. JoJo continues on toward Parrot Cay. It's unfortunate the wind is going to be here for a few days. When John was landing on Provo,the pilot flew quite close to the water. John actually saw spouts from the plane! This is the time the humpback whales are coming south from all along the North Atlantic Coastal waters. They are on their way to the Silver Bank which is in between Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic. This is a shallow area where Humpbacks come every year to calve and mate. The migration route passes right along the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Hi All, The weather forecast is for a building wind as the day goes. Terrell and I are out early to take advantage of the morning's flat water. We come out of Leeward at the same time as the yellow tour boats are heading out to pick up their passengers. JoJo is waiting and comes right to Spy Hop. He has a plan and we are involved. He gets in our wake wanting to go in the direction of Turtle Cove. He stays in our wake until we are about to enter into Crystal Bay which is miles from where we picked him up. He branches off and does some energetic fishing. I can tell from not only his dives and his breathing that he is going after free swimming fish unlike the fish that are hidden in the sand. He surfaces with a loud blow indicating strenuous swimming in hot pursuit of fish. Then he makes big arch as he uses his fluke to push him way down for a deep dive to hunt for more prey. He surfaces again and chuffs three times. This indicates that he's gotten something down his blow hole and needs to blow it out. It sounds just like a horse snorting. We loose sight of him and start slowly leaving. JoJo knows exactly where we are and doesn't want to miss his ride back. We now see him heading our way. He comes behind Spy Hop and we are off retracing our route. As we get to Beaches, he branches off and swims thru all the swim areas. I believe he's still hungery and crater fishing. He doesn't surface which means he isn't looking for interaction just breakfast. As we motor off, he comes to Spy Hop again. Now he wants to check out Club Med. He does the same thing swimming thru the swim areas and on to Ocean Club. People have spotted him but he isn't interested in any interaction. He heads for the reef and we loose him again. I have gotten word that John has arrived at OC. I call and we plan a pick up at the Club Med dock. Terrell climbs out and John takes over the captain duties. We decide to head for Pine Cay. As we pass Leeward, I spot JoJo. He comes to the back of the boat again! Now, he wants to go north past Pine Cay! We are getting low on fuel and the wind as predicted has come up. John sees a sail boat and we decide to take him as far at the boat and turn around. As we pull up, I yell over the wind that we are delivering a dolphin! As JoJo realizes we aren't going any further he heads in the direction of the sail boat! We were pretty much at his beck and call all day!!
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Hi All, Wow what a day! Gorgeous water, flat and clear. I have two great friends with me in Spy Hop, Mike Rosatti and Di. The pressure is on to find JoJo! Right out of Leeward I think I see a dolphin wahoo! No actually it's a really large shark who apparently just ate some fish because he smells really fishy! He was right on the surface fooling me into thinking he was a dolphin! I figure it's a good omen for more adventures! After making the usual pass down Grace Bay, we head up toward Pine Cay and there we find a very friendly JoJo visiting a Big Blue boat. He comes right over to Spy Hop. I got in and swim with him for a very long time. His cuts are healing appropriately. The white stringy stuff coming out of his cuts is called fibrin connective tissue. It is a sign that they are healing. Both Di and Mike got a chance for a swim with him as well. I have known Mike for years. He is a wealth of knowledge of all things related to the sea. In the early days before I had a boat, Mike ran the water sports at Ocean Club, he was a major JoJo spotter . After I bought my first boat, he would radio from the beach if JoJo was passing by! JoJo has now attracted a crowd and there are boats all over the place coming to see the famous JoJo. Eventually he comes back to Spy Hop and we continue all the way to the end of Grace Bay where he wants to turn around and head back! He stays in our wake until we get by the reef in front of Ocean Club where he seems to want to hang. This is a good moment to leave and head to Pine Cay. Truthfully when it's as gorgeous as today, there are so many options it's hard to decide what would be the most FUN. I had heard from a fisherman that they were seeing spouts! So we head out past the reef along Pine Cay. It's early for the whales to be arriving but you never know! Terrell reminded me that he needs to get back early because its election day in Turks and Caicos and he needs to vote. We go in toward shore and start heading back until I see a dorsal! We find Whizzer and Bo. When I get in they are swimming together and Whizzer didn't come flying over in his usual crazy man state. I notice his eyes are half closed. He is in sleep mode. After swimming with them for about five minutes, he comes alive and does his circling, spy hopping, flipping over backwards and porpoising out of the water! Bo seems a little put out with him and chases him around with her mouth open. In the mean time the Meridian Club water taxi motors up to watch all the fun. The Captain asks me if I speak dolphin :)I head to Spy Hop so Terrell can get back to vote. The dolphins delivered today!
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Hi All, After a quick trip home, I'm off to Blue Haven to meet Terrell.He will be my boat captain for a few days. He knows the routine with scooters and cameras. As we are loading all the equipment, a boat captain comes by and tells me he saw JoJo a few days ago and he has a big gash. I figure if it's as bad as last time he will be hanging by the swim lines as he did in the past. We motor out of Leeward and head toward the resorts. I'm watching closely to see if he's hanging near the swim lines. We turn around after passing all the resorts. I'm not sure whether to be relieved he wasn't there or worried we can't find him. On our way back, I notice a big catamaran motor boat stopped in an odd place out by the reef. As we approach, I see one dorsal than another. I ask Terrell to hand me a scooter as I slip in the water. Whizzer and Bo are waiting at the back of the boat. Bo greets me then has other business to attend to. She leaves Whizzer with me. He is taking great glee in sneaking up on me from behind and whizzing under me so close I can feel the rush of water. The water is so crystal clear out by the reef. Whizzer starts crater fishing in the dazzling white sand. He now doesn't just mimic BO he is actually catching fish. I know this is a huge step toward his going out on his own. I selfishly want him to stay with Bo as long as possible. I get to swim with him for a long time before I loose sight of him in a reef. He joins up with Bo and they go on their way. We look for JoJo but can't seem to find him. I will be out on the water at the crack of dawn to find JoJo.