Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Huge Pod of Spotted Dolphins

Hi All, As we leave Blue Haven Marina, I look up at the corner of the roof where an osprey sits each morning. He's preening in the brilliant sun. Soon he'll be bringing breakfast to his mate and chick. They are across the channel living in a big messy nest that sits on a wooden platform. There seems to be everything hanging off the nest from flashy fishing lines to plastic bags. They are clever but messy nest makers! When we went past the fuel station the Captain on "Catch the Wave" asked us if we had seen the whale that was tangled up with fishing net. This was the first we heard about it. He said they had called the authorities to help the whale. We want to see if we can find the whale in case it was still in trouble. We go straight out Leeward Channel past the reef. We think the whale might be along the shelf just inside the wall where it drops off thousands of feet. The dark blue water is sparkling as far as we can see. The flying fish are zooming off on either side of our boat. They go about 50 yards a foot off the water then make what looks like a crash landing. Once we are opposite Dellis Cay we put our hydrophone in to see if any whales are around. Loud moans and squeaks come through the speaker. It sounds like there are three whales somewhere in the area. We start to hear whistles! That can only be dolphins!! Over our radio we hear the captain of "Gwendolyn" a fishing boat telling another captain that he saw a pod of 100 dolphins. John asks the Captain where they are! He tells us and we're off! I see something - a whale quite near us! There is a small pod of Pilot whales very close. We immediately stop and turn off the motor so as not to spook them. They come right at us. John gets in but they dive deep and we don't see them again! Pilot whales look like large dolphins. Was the captain mistaken? Back to the search. John who can see miles away starts seeing dolphins - lots of Spotted dolphins. I get in the water and they are everywhere. They are friendly and have no problem with me swimming with them.

Big pod of Spotted Dolphins! from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

I get out for a moment thinking maybe they'd like to play with the boat. We speed up and they of course get in the bow wave and in the wake leaping and carrying on. They truly are the party dolphins! All of them are now behind the boat. The perfect time to get back in. This time as I'm approaching a group, one dolphin comes rocketing up to me. He zooms a little way off then comes right by me again, very close. I'm keeping an eye out for him because he's quick and comes very, very close! I think he's friendly but a torpedo of muscle coming full tilt at you can keep your guard up. He keeps circling and porpoising. All the other dolphins are leaving us behind except one who's dorsal is partially chopped off. He stays with us. My new speedy friend is blowing amazing bubble trains. "Bubbles" surfaces then starts emitting bubbles from his blow hole as he zigzags thru the water and soon there are bubble trains everywhere. With the sun shining into the water illuminating the bubbles, they look like tiny lights floating to the surface. He has now stayed around me for quite awhile and is settling down. "Bubbles" and "Stumpie" as I have named them :)start circling me slowly coming very close. I wonder why Bubbles got so excited? Was this his first human encounter? The others including Stumpie didn't behave like this. Whatever the reason, I will take this as a HUGE and the best ever Valentines present.

Bubbles my new dolphin Friend from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

We never found the whale I hope the authorities were able to remove the tangled lines.

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