Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Hi All, JoJo has been injured by a boat propellor. He has a large gash on his head. Mark the island vet has seen pictures. He feels it will mend as have many of the other gashes he has sustained. The worry is that he can eat and that sharks aren't attracted to and seepage coming from the wound. He also feels it's important that he's felt alone to heal and people aren't taking advantage of his injury to be close to him. I have witnessed this before but I was there to ask people to give him his space. Please implore anyone with a boat to be careful of JoJo, he's an older dolphin who loves to hang with boats but he doesn't move as quickly as he used to. Many boat captains go way too close obviously this one did. A very concerned Jay
Saturday, March 31, 2018
Hi All, The front has finally passed leaving churned up water and fairly rough water. As we travel past Grace Point I start seeing Laughing Gulls. This is the first we have seen of them this season. They are flying all around the boats picking the perfect spot land.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Hi All, This morning a boat Captain calls over the radio "JoJo and his family are at Big Water Cay". We race back from where we are with high hopes that JoJo is with many dolphins. Usually when this happens and we are pretty far away, they have moved on by the time we get there and we don't know which way to go! This morning is no different! However Big Water Cay has some nice cliffs which are attracting the Tropic Birds so despite the lack of dolphins we got to see more arial displays. Back to our original search. I see a dorsal in the very opaque water between Coral House and Leeward. When I get in I notice again that JoJo is opening his mouth. I decide to climb out and hope they travel to clear water. Out by the reef opposite Coral House is gorgeous crystal clear water and they head that way. Some tour boats see us with them and motor up. This again gives me plenty of time with Snipper who isn't interested in the boats especially when they put swimmers in. JoJo visits for a while then when I'm least suspecting it, he sneaks up on me! Seven feet of big dolphin swimming behind you and suddenly appearing by your side is quite something! I know he loves this game of sneak up on Jay and plays it numerous times in between entertaining tour boats. JoJo and Snipper love to roll in the soft sand by the reef. Both dolphins do some crater fishing and catch some little jaw fish that live in holes in the sand. JoJo catches about three fish then his mouth really bothers him. I saw him shake his head and open his mouth really wide. I wonder if he hit the spot that's bothering him? I really wish I could help him but I can't see exactly the problem. Whatever it is JoJo is feeling good enough to take numerous rides in the wake behind different boats. Snipper is left on his own as JoJo goes up and down the coast behind various boats. Maybe this takes his mind of his mouth or maybe it's a way to police his territory with the least amount of effort.
Monday, March 26, 2018
Hi All, The wind has shifted to the East making boating on the North side nice again. Unfortunately the blow that came through for the last few days left the water very murky in most places. We are heading out with David and Emily his wife who are hoping to see JoJo. We pass out the channel and I'm relieved to see fairly flat water. After making the usual tour of Grace Bay, we head up to Pine Cay. I hear a distinctive bird call and look up to see a Tropic Bird soaring high in the air. It's magnificent tail stretched out behind, glimmering white against the blue sky. We are all watching as more birds join in until there are eight Tropic Birds all soaring above us. What a great way to start the day!
Friday, March 23, 2018
Hi All, What a day! The sun's streaming down and the water is flat and in most places clear. There's barely a boat left in the marina. Everyone's out enjoying this magnificent day. There is a call for 30% rain later in the afternoon but it's spectacular now. The quandary, do we go out past the reef and look for Spotted Dolphins or stay inside the reef and look for JoJo and his friends? I'm down to my last week on island and I want to see the dolphins I know as much as possible. That decides it. As we head past Ocean Club on our pass back to Leeward both John and I spot a dorsal. It's Snipper heading toward Leeward. I get in and get a swim-by through the crystal clear water. It woud be a great day to film on a reef with Snipper but it's not to be. I'm back in Spy Hop as we follow Snipper who's traveling fairly fast toward Leeward. I feel a little guilty at what happen next. The boat captains all know that if we are traveling slowly or stopped, there is a dolphin with us. Because everyone travels in and out of Leeward there are many of boats coming and going. Snipper who is just trying to make his way across the channel gets surrounded by tour boats. At least 15 boats stop by to let their passengers see him. Some are respectful and stop a good distance from him, leaving him the choice of going to their boat or not like JoJo. Others not only ran up to him but right over him and won't leave him alone even after he makes it clear he isn't interested by trying to swim away. When the water is murky it's easy for the dolphins to disappear but today with the clear water Snipper doesn't have a chance. Finally they all go on to whatever activities they had planned. Snipper makes his way across the channel and over a patch of reef and disappears. We head to Pine Cay where we figure he is going. We pass Norm and his wife who are stopped along the cliffs of Pine Cay. They are hoping to see the Tropic birds. We told them about the Tropic bird we saw way out past the reef floating in the water with her long tail cocked up behind her so it wouldn't get wet. Norm is an avid bird watcher and great bird photographer. Once we motor past The Meridian Club John stops and after a brief swim we dove into our lunch. It was short lived when I see a dorsal not far off, then another dorsal in the distance. A boat comes by and one of the dolphins get in the wake clearly that was JoJo. I figure he'll be back because he won't want to leave the other dolphin. I get in and find Bo chasing a trunk fish around. She likes to play with them but doesn't eat them. Pretty soon she starts heading off at a good clip and I get back in our boat. Now I see a third dolphin heading toward her. Snipper has made his way there and both are heading right for the swim area near the Meridian Club. Whenever I see big dives where they propel themselves down I know they are fishing. As we get closer we see one dolphin right near the buoy. JoJo has come back and joined them. I get in and see schools of fish swimming by. No wonder they were heading this way! JoJo seems more interested in the buoy. There's a lot of marine life clinging to the buoy including clams. He sonars it as he hangs vertically. He swims off and makes it clear he wants a ride by swimming out in front of our boat in the direction he wants to go. I find it strange that he wants to leave them but we drive by and he gets in our wake. I'd rather not leave the others but they are darting all over fishing and don't need a slow human tagging along. By the time we take JoJo way far in the other direction past Beaches Resort, the 30% chance of rain is heading our way! We manage to take him back toward Leeward where he branches off and we avoid the rain that is fast approaching.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Hi All, JoJo made full use of his Uber rides this morning! We see him at Grace Point, he swims past us and takes a long ride with Dream Aweigh II, a large catamaran motor boat. We follow them as they go back to Leeward into the channel, turn around and out toward the reef. JoJo decides he'd rather go back toward Grace Point and switches to our boat! He then follows us up and down the coast to Pine Cay and back. He doesn't stop for any leisurely swims with his friend Jay! Typically when he does this, he's looking for another dolphin and is more than happy to swim with me once he finds his friend. Just as we come to Half Moon Beach, Bo suddenly appears and swims up to our boat. I get in and get a great pay off for all those trips up and down the coast by swimming with them both. JoJo keeps coming up to me. He seems agitated about something regarding his mouth. He keeps opening and shutting it. The last time this happened Mark, the island vet, told me he may have a fish bone stuck in his gum. As I'm looking at JoJo I notice a small fish that keeps swimming right by his side. JoJo rolls in the sand but the little guy stayed very close. Boats start coming up and people get in the water. Bo immediately swims away and I go with her while JoJo does a brief swim-by and comes right back. With no dolphins very close, the people climb out of the water and the boats leave. I have noticed before that JoJo goes to Bo's fluke area and seems to be checking it out. I think he's sonaring to see her status. Is she in estrous? Is she pregnant? Bo also behaves the way she has before when she doesn't want JoJo too close. There's no stroking, flipper footsie or hanky panky. She even lies still on the bottom like I saw her do once before. I'm not sure what that means but it happened when JoJo was around and there wasn't any affectionate interaction that day either. JoJo takes off after a fish and I don't see him for a while. Bo who usually doesn't like me around when she fishes was fine with me watching this time. She whizzes off after a few fish and catches them. I see her use her rostrum to move a chunk of coral to find a fish hiding under it. She catches one rather chubby fish and shakes it violently. I'm not sure why. Dolphins don't chew their food. they swallow fish whole head first. Perhaps she was incapcitating the fish before she turned it around to swallow. I have gotten some great time with no boats to disrupt my time with Bo but now boats are starting to see we have a dolphin with our boat. John tries to tell people that it's up to them but she probably won't swim with them. Some of them try and as predicted she swims away. JoJo will usually do a swim-by if people get in but Bo would rather not! Now we are surrounded by boats and one boat has dogs barking wildly because they can hear the dolphins and sometimes get to swim with them. I watch Bo as she blows a what I think is a warning bubble and swims off. She has done that before when surrounded by tour boats. JoJo is enjoying the boat traffic this time entertaining each of them.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Hi All, Everyday I wonder who I'll find and who will be traveling with whom. Yesterday I left JoJo and Snipper pretty early in the day. I wonder if JoJo minded that. John and I are sitting at the far end of Pine Cay enjoying the sun. I'm snoozing in between looking for dorsals. There's no better place for a snooze than on the water, with the sun beating down and Spy Hop gently rocking in the waves. No one seems to be around so we head back past the Meridian Club when we notice these weird little boats circling around. They are one man boats that look like sit down lawn motors in the water! Of course the dolphins want to check them out! We motor up and see Snipper's dorsal and figure JoJo's with him. Once I get in the REALLY murky water, I see the other fluke and it's not JoJo's. Eventually I get a look at the dolphins side and see blemish below the dorsal on the left side. Its Bo! The water is seriouly murky and I have to look on the surface and hope to see a dorsal to figure out where they are. Snipper is in a playful mood and keeps surfacing right beside me. I'm looking all over knowing he's somewhere and he pops up right beside me! This game goes on for a long time! I think he's totally aware I can't see anything and wants my company! Both dolphins are staying with me despite my losing sight of them every time they dive. How lucky am I to have these amazing dolphins popping up all around me and wanting me to accompany them as they slowly make their way toward Leeward. I go through three scooters as we travel to Leeward. I have to get out a few times so I can warm up and rest. The water starts to clear up in spots as we get to Leeward. There are so many tour boats coming by to see the dolphins but the dolpins really aren't interested. They are milling around Leeward maybe waiting for JoJo to join them. I decide it's time to go in. My scooters are dead and my legs are cramping up from all the swimming! What a great day: to have Snipper and Bo want my company.
Monday, March 19, 2018
Hi All Finally a great water day! As we come out of Leeward, I don't know which way to go; it's perfect past the reef and perfect up and down the coast. Maybe there's one last whale that hasn't made his way past the island on his way to the Silver Bank. We go past the reef and drop our hydrophone to check. Not a peep! I decide going back to find JoJo and see if Lemon Lips is with him this morning is the way to go. We turn around and head in. I see glistening specks coming our way. The sun's catching two dorsals as they make their way through Leeward Channel. As we motor up I see JoJo's distinctive dorsal and Snippers even more distinctive dorsal. I get in and have a long leisurely swim with them as they make their way toward the resorts. Their route lately seems to head toward Seven Stars turn around and head back. Tour boats start seeing us and come to see JoJo. The dolphins aren't one bit interested in greeting this morning. They aren't fishing, playing or interacting with boats. They are just happy to swim along peacefully in no apparent hurry. We have David with us, who's dying to get in with JoJo. I tell him if Snipper gets a little ahead, he should climb in and maybe JoJo will look at his camera. This has worked for Nic and Ted. As predicted JoJo stops to check out the Go Pro on a stick then swims back to me and we head off to find Snipper. Having a seven foot dolphin come look at you is pretty terrific even if he didn't choose to swim with you. The dolphins head out toward the reef and mill around. The water is so inviting past the reef and there is a cut right in front of us. I decide we should leave our friends and see what's out past the reef. I of course have visions of whales, perhaps new whales we haven't seen before and spotted dolphins whirling around my head! David has in the mean time found on his phone a picture of what we think we saw the other day, a Cuvier Beaked Whale. It's head is white and with age more of his body turns white. He has a small dorsal located fairly far back on his body which is exactly what we saw. Mystery solved! Apparently, they can dive really deep and not surface to breath for three hours! This makes it hard to study them. We were so lucky to see one. We head to Northwest Point and drop in the hydrophone. There is only the swishing of water and crackling of shrimp. I want to go back to where we saw the Cuvier Whale. So we head in the opposite direction toward Parrot Cay. I'm so loving the flat glistening water with welcomed sunshine beating down. It's the middle of the day and we stop for lunch hoping to see some activity as we float in this vast ocean. There isn't even a bait ball. Nothing broke the surface of this magnificent flat sea. After finishing our usual P,B and J and tuna fish we are off toward Parrot Cay. Just as I spot the ritzy Parrot Cay Inn in the distance, I see some splashing as a pod of Spotted dolphins heads toward our boat. John entertains them driving in circles and they join us riding the bow wave and surfing the wake. We see some very tiny calves also riding the bow wave. Yikes! Sort of like kids playing in traffic but they are so adept even at a young age they have great fun and don't get hurt. David and I get in and have some fun swimming with our new friends. Once we leave them the sky is starting to cloud up and I'm determined not to get soaked like yesterday so we head in.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
Hi All, The past few days have been difficult for boating with a big swell coming from up North. We are happy to finally be out on Grace bay without bouncing all over! After not finding JoJo in front of the resorts, we head to Pine Cay. I have been hoping everyday that I would see the Tropic Birds coming to the cliffs of Pine Cay and Fort George Cay to nest and have their chicks. Tropic birds are pelegic and only come to shore in spring to have their babies. Today we see lots of beautiful Tropic Birds flying over the cliffs surveying where they want to make their nests.
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
Hi All, There is lots of activity on the dock everyone knows the wind is down and it will be a good day. The captains and crew are hustling around preparing their boats. There are mounds of food and rum punch being loaded. There is much excitement in the air and everyone is discussing where they are going. They want to know if we are finding JoJo or whales. There's a procession of tour boats leaving the marina hoping for adventure! Ted and Suz our friends join us at 8:15 sharp with their lunch, cameras and snorkel gear. We head to North West Point with visions of whales and dolphins whirling around in our heads! I see some activity on the horizon before we even get there. A pod of Spotted dolphins are porpoising out of the water. One high jumper is a good 10 feet off the surface! I'm hustling around to get flippers and camera for a quick entrance as John entertains them by whizzing around in circles as they bow ride and porpoise in our wake. As John slows down, I hop into the deep dark blue water. Immediately two dolphins come over to greet me. For some reason there always seems to be a mother and calf that want to play with me. They circle wildly as if staking me out as their toys! There are other dolphins around but these two have laid claim! I play with them for a half hour then figure we should get on with our whale search and return to the boat. I see the mother come back wanting her human toy to stay a little longer. As I climb on board, I'm told the rest of the pod had moved on leaving my friends behind.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Hi All, We got out of New England in the nick of time! There's another Nor'Easter heading their way! So great to be in Provo! We gather all our equipment and head to the marina. I bought yet another water scooter and brought back the scooter with the repaired on/off switch. The trick is usually getting through security with a lithium battery. This time however John sailed right through with the battery and a small knife he forgot he packed! I however was pulled aside for a box of raisins! Go Figure! The weather is great especially knowing what's about to happen at home. I'm eager to see JoJo I figure all his cuts and the puncture wound are healed. The important thing is if he can open his mouth wide enough to fish. It was pure luck! I spotted the dolphins quite near the reef along Pine Cay. There is a huge tanker that I am watching just outside the reef. They aren't usually in this area. As I'm looking to see how massive this ship is, I see a black speck which turns out to be a dorsal. We head toward the speck and JoJo and Snipper appear. I got into the very murky water and got a nice JoJo greeting. He seemed quite interested in the new scooter which makes a slightly different noise than the old one.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Hi all, Spectacular day on the water! With almost no wind the conditions are spectacular for anything on the water. Knowing this was the forecast, we had invited David along with hopes of more whale encounters. Whenever it's this great we head to Northwest Point. We are rewarded with two whales. I thought I heard something as we are watching them spout them dive. I asked John to turn off the motor and we could hear them vocalizing right through the boat! As soon as David and John got in the water, the vocalizations stopped. They didn't see the whales. As soon as they got on the boat, the vocalizations started up! David put his Go Pro down for evidence!
Friday, March 2, 2018
Hi All, As predicted, the wind is down and we are out at day break. A King Fisher flies over the channel as we pass by Mrs Osprey who's eating her fish breakfast. All good omens! There are waves coming out of Leeward Channel hmmm. We go past the channel markers and there are big rolling swells that make large waves on the reef. When Spy Hop climbs to the top of a swell we can see way out on the ocean. My favorite kind of day! No chop, no bouncing, no splashing just gentle swells a perfect day for cetacean viewing! We drop the hydrophone in at Northwest Point and feel like we are on the whale thoroughfare. We look and look don't see a spout but, we know they are around! Off to West Caicos with the gentle swells gently pushing us along. We see a Coast Guard Helicopter flying along and John kiddingly goes on the radio and asks if they have seen any whales. They come back with coordinates fairly far out to sea! We go to the location indicated but don't see any spouts. As we head back toward West Caicos I see a spout then that gorgeous turquoise color of the water washing over their pecs as they surface. We get pretty close and John gets in. He gets a brief glimpse as a mother and calf swim by. He gets back in Spy Hop and we find them again. This time John gets in and they swim under the boat and come up beside Spy Hop, before swimming away. I was debating getting in then trying to film but it all happened so fast I didn't get anything done! John gets back in Spy Hop and asks if I'd like to get in. ARE YOU KIDDING!!! WOULD I LIKE TO GET IN!?!?! I've been trying to be a good sport and let him swim with the whales since he always drives the boat and rarely gets the fun part of swimming with the dolphins. I climb in. Whoa! Its deep and really dark blue. Visibility is not great. I see a white pec up ahead, now a whole whale comes into view. She's hanging quietly in the water. I stay a respectful way off hoping she'll be comfortable with my company. Pretty soon her calf comes up to breath and sees me. He sinks down again under Mom's chin but next time he comes up to breath, he comes closer. Every time he surfaces, he comes a little closer and Mom's not minding at all. It's now been about 20 blissful minutes and she slowly surfaces to breath. As she drops back down she and junior start slowly swimming and they are perfectly content having me swim along beside them. She swims with her calf under her just like the dolphins. They start to slowly descend into the deep dark blue. I really think they would have been ok if I had followed them but thought if I wanted to keep my boat driver, I'd better go back and try not to gloat too much :)
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Hi All, This morning we have invited Nic, who is a free dive instructor, and his family to come out and hopefully encounter whales and or dolphins. The water is flat through the channel making me feel a little whale watching may work. Out past the channel marks it's still ok not too flat but not too rough. The hydrophone tells us there are whales in the area and they sound close. We travel outside the reef to Pine Cay and I see spouts. The spouts look a small way off on the horizon. We motor out but never catch up. The girls on board are happy to go look for dolphins! We find them in almost the same spot as we did yesterdday at the end of Pine Cay. They are very interactive. I get to spend a whole scooter battery's worth swimming in clear water. JoJo follows me a lot as the three of us make our way around through the crystal clear water. If I get out they come back to the boat and want me to get back in. Snipper, JoJo and I are going along when JoJo turns back to the boat. Nic has slipped into the water with his long diving fins. JoJo wants to investigate and he watches Nic swim to the bottom. After Nic surfaces after what seems a very long time, JoJo returns to Snipper and we continue on our way. I think they got plenty of dolphin watching in and almost had a whale encounter! Nic now owes me a free diving lesson which I sorely need!
Monday, February 26, 2018
Hi All, The wind is coming down!!! We meet our company, David, at Spy Hop bright and early. As we head out, John sees Bruce a friend who captains a big fishing boat and asks him if he's seen whales. He saw two at Northwest Point yesterday. Clearly our first mission is to check out the water past the reef to see if the waves are down enough for our boat to go to Northwest Point. We decide YES and off we go. Flying fish are zooming away from our bow as make our way there. Of course the waves get bigger and bigger the closer we get to Northwest point. Our hydrophone tells us there are whales but not that close. We decide to go past Northwest Point and circle for a while hoping to see a spout (in my case hoping to see dorsals!!)No spouts so we start making our way back. The waves are significant but not a huge as on our last trip. Right as we come to the same place we saw the whale before, I see the turquoise color of the water washing over white pec just below the surface. I yell above motor "whale get your equipment!" The boys move in as fast as they can but, this whale didn't opt for hanging around. I see a tail indicating a deep dive and apparently John and David saw him disappear under Spy Hop. They weren't able to get footage but had some excitement. I in the mean time am trying to keep track of them between the substantial waves. Seeing John drives the boat 99 percent of the time I'm finding a challenge not to run them over as the waves, wind and current are having their way with Spy Hop! On top of that I'm trying to watch to see where the whale is going. I failed on that count! John takes the wheel (thankfully) and we start lurching back threw the waves toward Sellers Cut and hopefully dolphins. As we pass by Coral Gardens David waves at his family who are spending the day at the beach. I see a small round object bobbing on the water way by the reef we go to investigate. A beach ball perfect for David's young son Charlie. I love sea booty! Now on to Pine Cay. A few captains start signaling that there are dolphins as we near Pine Cay. We start looking and soon find JoJo and Snipper. They are in a totally different mood from yesterday. They are fine with my joining them provided I can keep up. They aren't playing, rough housing or porpoising, just cruising along. First in the murk toward Dellis Cay then back and out toward the reef where it's really deep and clear. Snipper makes sort of C shape with his body then a U shape then displays. I'm not sure what that is about but he does it twice. Behavior is interests me so much and I haven't seen this before. It's getting late and we'd better get David back to his family. We leave the dolphins and head back to the marina.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Hi All, So happy, the wind is down a little and we are out early! Its at least calm enough to try going past the reef. We don't see any spouts and its still too rough to hang around looking. I'm so glad we had an early start because JoJo is right in Leeward Channel looking for his Uber ride north toward Pine Cay. Had we started the day a little later, we would have followed our usual routine, gone south and we would have missed him. Once we get to Pine Cay, he branches off and is no where to be seen. I'm really hoping he has gone toward the reef to fish. We are looking all over toward shore and out by the reef. Out of the waves shoots JoJo and we see he has company. They are swimming fast and playing. Swimming in circles at speed on their sides. For an old man he sure has a lot of energy. I'm dying to know who he's swimming with. I notice the dorsal is not always standing upright. Could it be Lemon Lips? I get in and it's so murky I can't see much of anything unless the dolphins come really close by. I see his fluke and it is Lemon Lips. He stops racing around briefly to swim with me. I notice he has some horizontal cuts across his trunk or above his fluke. He also has some rake marks maybe from another dolphin.You will be able to see this if you look closely in the video. They are on the move again and not too interested in swimming with their slow human friend who can't see much of anything in murky water. We follow them toward Leeward. They visit a few boats, then turn back toward the far end of Pine Cay. I get in again when the come by our boat but they aren't waiting around. As I climb back in Spy Hop, I notice another dolphin. Easily recognizable, Snipper is heading toward them. Apparently he was a little late to the meeting! WOW they are all excited. Two of them porpoise at least 10 feet out of the water in unison! Of course I didn't have my camera on :( Once they calm down a little I get in but still can't see anything below the surface. They are still rough housing and without being able to see into the water I don't want to get too close. I swim up and stop about eight feet from the excitement where I can watch without getting in the way. I'd hate to have a dolphin porpoise ten feet out of the water and come down on me! I find it interesting that some days they want me to hang with them and others they have their own, in this case, exciting dolphin activity to tend to.
Friday, February 23, 2018
Hi All, Weather wise its pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday without as many rain showers. As soon as we hit Leeward Channel the waves start mounting. The good news is all three dolphins are just arriving at Leeward. Bo is off fishing, her dorsal popping up here and there all over in the caulky water. She is one fast dolphin! She must have to fish a lot in preparation for her calf! JoJo and Snipper are peacefully swimming along close to our boat. I get in a little before we reach Leeward and am thrilled to see JoJo crater fish for he first time since he got all those cuts and the puncture wound. The water is really murky but I think he has success. I don't think he's comfortable opening his mouth very wide, though. I hope this improves as time goes by. As we reach Leeward the water's wonderfully clear; the bad news is we are in boat traffic. I imagine you all have noticed that I look up frequently when taking video. The other day a girl got off a boat and was swimming as fast as she could go to catch up to JoJo, who was slowly swimming along three boat lengths ahead with no intention of waiting! There was a tour boat with everyone hanging out to watch JoJo. She was heading right at it going as fast as she could go. The boat captain is yelling at her to stop - CLUNK right smack into the boat. I've been there! It's a hands on experience or in this case a head on experience.(she survived!) JoJo wants to visit the boats and Snipper comes over to me to play. John who acts like my escort is trying to keep me from getting run over by blocking. This is all pretty exciting when the waves are rolling in. Soon they all check off "see the dolphins" from their to do list and we are left in peace. As we head off, Snipper notices a sort triangular shaped tube in the water. I don't know what it is but it probably fell off a boat. I notice there is an antenna coming out of it! A lobster has made it his home. The dolphins now speed up a little and head to the reef. I eventually lose sight of them and decide a trip into the channels to get out of the wind and have lunch is a good plan. My plan for the afternoon is to head back to the condo where I've been working with my new website whizz, Max, to upgrade my website! I think it will be on line by tomorrow I hope you take a look! www.jojoandjay.com
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Hi All, With the wind between 20 and 30 knots I'm not totally looking forward to a day of boating. The big tour boats sit way above the waves and don't bounce around as much as our boat. I'm not complaining, just sayin. We make a pass for the second time by the resorts. We have escaped two major rain showers and it looks like there's another one coming as we bounce our way toward Leeward. I mention to John that if we don't see a dorsal lets call it a day. We have friends coming over tonight and the condo could stand a cleaning. Not To Be! We see two dorsals heading our way. I get in expecting to find JoJo and Snipper. JoJo comes through the chalky murky water. I can barely see him. I lose sight of him and am about to climb back in Spy Hop when I see two dolphins coming toward me. Thinking it was Snipper and JoJo I hurry over. I notice the fluke with the slight tear and realize it's Bo. Apparently there are three dolphins in the murky water. Bo is startled by my fast aggressive approach (actually more of a Mrs Magoo moment because I can't see anything). She slaps her tail in my face. Oops, too close too fast. I'm worrying I've annoyed her. JoJo comes right up as if to reassure me all's okay. Soon Snipper and Bo come by, Bo makes her signature whistle as she passes me as if to say this is how you approach. She is a wealth of dolphin etiquette. I lose sight of them in the murk and get into Spy Hop. (When watching this video turn up the volume and you can hear Bo's signature whistle. Watch for the bubbles coming out her blow hole at the same time.) There's an annoying motor boat whizzing around dragging a red inflatable called Big Mabel. He's dragging the inflatable past and over the dolphins. The dolphins are not interested and dive deep. I'm now shivering on the boat still sort of thinking of the warm condo. All three dolphins surface right together near the boat. First JoJo spy hops looking right up in the boat; then Snipper and Bo spy hop looking expectantly into the boat . This is an invitation I can't refuse. I get in with all three and we make our way into clear water as we come to Leeward.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Hi All, We get out a little late due to a bit too much dancing and a feast at the Cabana Bar. Ocean Club, where we have our condo, has a great restaurant that over looks beautiful Grace Bay. They serve perhaps the best cracked conch on the island and live music a few nights a week! The wind has already picked up as we head out Leeward Channel and we go with the wind heading toward Beaches. As we pass, a big catamaran motor boat we see people aiming their Go Pros toward their big wake. Clearly, they have a dolphin with them! JoJo hears our boat and comes right over. We seriously didn't try to steal him! He knows we will take him where ever he wants to go. We head back to Leeward and towards Half Moon Beach where he branches. I hope he was fishing but I don't know. He turned around and reappears on the other side of Leeward. We motor out toward the reef where he is swimming in the big waves. He comes to Spy Hop and swims a little way off the stern which usually means he wants company. As soon as I get in tour boats start coming up. JoJo and I go to visit them. One boat was playing with the anchor trying to attract him. (Actually we were coming over anyway!) Dropping the anchor was really what he wanted. His puncture wound and scratches are healing and itchy. He enjoys rubbing on the anchor line for a while before moving off to visit another boat. He's ready to move on for more activities. As we get to Seven Stars, he branches off to check out a water skier. The driver had seen JoJo and stopped the boat so the skier could meet him. JoJo was hoping the skier would get pulled through the water rather than on the water and hung around waiting but they weren't fast enough and he lost interest! On to the next activity; a swim with me in front of Ocean Club where there's a nice buoy. We play bang the buoy until a motor boat dragging a plastic shark comes by. There are lots of shark riders all oohing and aahing over him. In addition, a lot of people from Club Med are now swimming out from shore. JoJo has no interest in meeting them and starts to swim away staying a couple of boat lengths in front of the crowd. We do pick up a nice Canadian lady who had been trying to catch up to JoJo and in the process has swum fairly far out. I asked her to get on the boat so she can see JoJo from the boat and not get run over when she wants to go back to the Club Med. It's been a busy morning and JoJo swims to Spy Hop to take a long nap as Spy Hop drifts with the wind pushing us toward the reef.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Hi All, It appears JoJo's punture wound is healing as Mark predicted. The white matter has fallen off and I think the wound is healing. He scratched on finger coral which is a good sign that his wounds are itchy and healing. I still haven't seen him fish. I will be looking for that today.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Hi All, After yesterday, we are happy to be heading out toward Grace Bay. The ospreys are sitting in their messy nest. They have added a red plastic wrapper to the twigs. We make a half-hearted attempt to see whales but decide we really want to see how JoJo's wounds are doing. On our way back from Beaches, Snipper and JoJo head toward Spy Hop. I get in and Snipper and I hang out as JoJo goes off to entertain a tour boat. They come back together and play a little flipper footsie before JoJo and I go to play bang The buoy.
Hi All, I've been looking forward to taking a long trip around the islands. Today, is supposed to be the best day in sight for the long trip. The wind however is much higher than predicted earlier in the week. We have invited David who is dying to see a whale. I met David through JoJo. I actually have quite a few friends that I never would have met if it hadn't been for a common interest in JoJo. Even as we leave at the crack of dawn, there is already quite a bit of wind. I thought we might at least get a start on our journey without wind and waves. We head out the South side and travel 22 miles leaving sight of land before seeing our first destination, French Cay. It is a bird sanctuary and I am so happy to see birds swarming around the island. I was worried about what damage hurricane Irma might have caused. The water calms down a little on the lee of the island. We see a lone dolphin rocket under Spy Hop. There is almost always a dolphin or two to meet you when you arrive at French Cay. We head out past the wall where the water's a dark blue and the waves start mounting. We hear some faint whale vocalizations with the hydrophone and decide to head to West Caicos with hopes that we will find quiet water and whales on the West side of the island. The waves are getting bigger and bigger but we are going with them so no worries. I'm thinking how JoJo would love our wake if I were to stand up they would come to the top of my head. David sees a spout! A Pilot whale swims right near our boat. The water is an emerald green as we reach West Caicos. We put the hydrophone in again, There are definitely whales in the area, but where? John radios a dive boat captain that is motoring by after their first morning dive and asks him if he has seen any whales. He hadn't but shortly there after he radios us to say that they have two whales in front of their boat. We motor over to watch these whales for quite a long time but they keep diving showing lots of tail. We want them to hang on the surface so John and David can get in. They seem to be traveling farther away with each dive. We leave them and head into the marina for lunch.
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Hi All, The ospreys are happily sitting on their messy nest. There are pieces of twine and green plastic bags mixed in with an untidy assortment of twigs. I recognize the green bag from the IGA! Apparently they feel the same way I do about interior decorating! We have invited four people to come out today. The pressure's on to find cetaceans! After passing through the channel markers we drop the hydrophone but again only hear whales in the distance. JoJo has been in the same place for the past few mornings and I want to get there at about the same time, so I suggest motoring around out here a little before heading inside the reef so as to arrive on schedule. We find no whales and head back inside the reef. We head down the coast and two dorsals pop up near a sail boat that is anchored near Ocean Club. I figure JoJo may have slept around that boat last night. Snipper and JoJo come to visit but it is so murky I can't see a thing when I get in. They pop up around me but I'm having trouble staying with them. Snipper does let me have a short swim with him before he disappears into the chalky turquoise water. I get back in Spy Hop and JoJo gets in our wake. We are his Uber driver! Snipper heads off in a different direction. We head out to clear water and I get in again. This time JoJo wants to follow me. I'm trying to film him swimming behind me which is almost impossible. I decide maybe he'd like it if I dive up and down with the scooter as I swim. He zipps up close behind me. Then I try swerving back and forth. I look back he's imitating me!!! We have a new game! Unfortunately a sail boat comes by and JoJo swims up to it. I think maybe he'll follow it. I get in Spy Hop so we can keep up. He decides to come back to us, his Uber ride continues. We go past Beaches, turn around, head all the way past Pine Cay and on to Dellis Cay. John doesn't like to motor too far past Dellis Cay because of the coral heads and shallow water. Apparently JoJo felt the same way because he branched right as we were discussing when to turn back. He went into sleep mode enabling Ted, one of our guests, to climb in with the famous JoJo. A boat came by and put their anchor down so JoJo could scratch. He swam over and entertained them for a while then came back to Spy Hop to continue his Uber ride. We take him down the coast right to where he branched yesterday in front of Seven Stars Resort. I see another dorsal and realize why he branched. Bo is darting from place to place. She's clearly fishing. I get in with JoJo and we watch as she chases down some Bar Jacks. I am careful to stay with JoJo. I've learned my dolphin etiquette lesson. Don't interfere with fishing dolphins! She comes racing under us and nails a Bar Jack. I wish JoJo would get a fish. I haven't seen him fish since he got the puncture wound. I usually see him crater fishes off and on whenever we are swimming. The puncture does look better today. The swelling is way down and the wound looks like a little volcano that erupted. I however have noticed that under his rostrum there seems to be some abrasions and yellow strands of perhaps pus near his mouth. I really hope all this resolves quickly. Dolphins eat 20 lbs of fish a day and I'm not sure he's eating anything. I will be watching closely everyday. There's a rain cloud heading our way despite the 100% prediction of no precipitation. I'm pretty sure our guests got more cetacean activity than they ever imagined! Time to head in.
Friday, February 16, 2018
Hi All, Finally the wind is slightly down and the water is quieter as we pass out between the channel markers. We drop the hydrophone in and hear whales in the distance. Today, Melanie, our guest, has to fly out and only has until mid-morning before heading to the airport. I'm thinking the water's good, lets scout around more for whales. If we travel inside the reef, I'm worried we will find dolphins and have to leave them to drop Melanie off on the beach. Note to friends - it's all about the dolphins! We travel outside the reef to Pine Cay and back to Sellers Cut - no whales. After coming back inside the reef we drop Melanie off in front of Ocean Club. We find JoJo 5 minutes after we drop her off. I was right! He's right at Leeward entertaining a few boats. He joins us wanting a ride to Pine Cay with a few stops to check out other boats along the way! I really want to swim with him to check his puncture wound hoping the swelling from the infecion is the same or less. I get the chance at the end of Pine Cay where he branches off. Once in the water I try desperately to swim under him and look up at his wound. I dive, hit the bottom and run my scooter right into the sand, OOPS. JoJo looks at me like "you really are an oaf in the water"! My scooter shuts down briefly but starts right up. The things I do for this dolphin! I think the punture wound looks about the same. JoJo hangs out for a short time then of course wants a ride back down the coast. I drag beside him for a while behind the boat then climb in and we take him back. I mention to John that I have a lot of things to do at the condo and maybe he'll branch off so he leaves us instead of us leaving him. I try calling Mark to see if he's in the area and has people on board that want to see JoJo. Mark's at the far end of Pine Cay and will head toward us. We are now in front of 7 Stars and JoJo decides to go check out a reef. We head in to take care of business and leave him hoping Mark will find him.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Hi All, The wind is still here and perhaps even a bit stronger. This will not stop us from our whale watching attempts. We head out to what looks like quiet water (not!) past the channel markers to drop in the hydrophone. We hear whales but not as loud as yesterday. After scanning the horizon trying to see a spout, we start to head up toward Pine Cay which is directly into the waves. A whale breaches not far off and we head in its direction. If the water weren't so rough getting to them would be easy. The big waves make the going wet and slow. Once there we see two whales. They travel along the surface for a short distance. Their white pecs just below the surface make the water look a stunning turquoise as they swim along. We are hoping to see a pec display but why would they, when they can dive deep below the rough surface to where the water is quiet and peaceful. A few more blows and they are gone. We bounce our way back inside the reef hoping to find dolphins. We haven't been along Pine Cay for a few days and I'm sort of hoping we don't see anyone on Grace Bay so we can go up there. It's heading right into the wind again but I love looking at the pristine beaches as we travel North. There's a little shelter from the wind near the Meridian Club, the prefect place to break out lunch. Most of which is left overs from a great meal at Hemingways. With the exception of course of John's PB and J! Quentin was playing there last night which did lead to some wild dancing:) Just as I'm topping off my lunch with a giraffe from a box of animal crackers, I see a dolphin heading our way. I hurry to get in wondering who is coming to join us. It's murky thanks to all the wind but I follow the signals from the boat and finally get to a beautiful dolphin with no markings except one small blemish on her left side below her dorsal. I'm pretty sure it's Bo but she's a bit shy at first about my swimming with her. Luckily, we are swimming with the waves and I can keep up as she swims toward Half Moon Beach. She speeds up a little and I get back in the boat not wanting to wear down my scooter especially when she's staying a few dolphin lengths ahead of me. Once we get to Half Moon Beach, she slows down and entertains a few passing boats. She visits them then comes right back beside Spy Hop. Now's my chance to swim with her again. I get in and she is traveling in a small circle at the bottom. She's fine with my staying right above her. My mind is racing. Is she in a holding pattern waiting for others? It certainly appears that way. I get out again to save the last scooter. I'm now on my second one. We hear from a boat captain that he has seen dolphins at the otherr end of Pine Cay. John wonders if she'll stay with Spy Hop if we maKe our way back North along the Pine Cay coast. We try it and she parallels our boat as we slowly head back. I look off toward the reef and see two dorsals. I ask John to take me over. I see JoJo and Snipper heading our way. I figure Bo will join up shortly. JoJo comes over and appears to show me his puncture wound. I don't think there's any change from yesterday. Snipper and JoJo are very affectionate. When Bo arrives, Snipper and Bo seem over joyed to see each other with a lot of touching and flipper footsie. There is lots of dolphin love on this Valentine's Day.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Hi All, This weather pattern just won't give up. I'm not complaining I could be shoveling snow! However, I do wish the wind would calm down! The ospreys are both out this morning, perhaps they are fishing together. We head out Leeward through the channel markers and the waves are all but washing over our bow. We get the hydrophone in the water, what a racket! They must be right really close. Melanie our guest gets to hear how eerie they sound from low grunts to high pitched squeaks. We look all over and circle slowly but don't see a spout. The big waves are not helping us spot them. We decide it's best to head in before our friend turns green and doesn't want to come out with us ever again! Now, to find dolphins in the somewhat quieter water. JoJo appears to be waiting for us right past Leeward. He wants a ride toward Beaches. Once we get there he branches off but stays near Spy Hop. That usually means he wants company. I get in. As we are swimming along I notice a protrusion along his throat. I can see something has happened but I'm not sure what. I'll need him to turn over so I can see what is going on. He takes me over to Beaches where there are lots of boats milling around. He wants to circle our boat right in the middle of all this. Perhaps a short nap. I'm waiting for a good opportunity to see the wound and more importantly to get some footage so I can show Mark, the island vet who helps me with dolphin questions. I get my chance when he goes down to scratch on our anchor line. He's very careful not to rub the wound. I can see swelling and a punture about as big as a quarter. JoJo and I then swim off to explore a buoy. JoJo apparently sonared and knew something was going on. When we got there a kayak was right near it with tools. There was also a diver in the water holding a wrench. JoJo dove down to inspect. He then came up for a little "bang the buoy" but I think he was more interested in what the diver had done to the chain attaching the buoy to a block at the bottom of the ocean. I got a better look at JoJo's punture and good footage to send Mark. I think it was a good sign he wanted explore and scratch on the anchor line. As soon as I got back to the condo I sent off pictures to Mark. He said that it was a punture wound that was infected and ready to pop out the foreign body. He thought it might have been from coral or a ray barb. I imagine coral seeing he is always rolling in it. I have never seen him have any interest in a ray but who knows! In any case Mark thought it should resolve on its own but wanted me to keep an eye on it which of course I will.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Hi All, Another copy of yesterday - sun and wind with rain in the afternoon. We pass through the channel and both osprey are sitting in their nest. They look quite content. They must have had a nice fish breakfast. We head out Leeward Channel and with our hydrophone hear whales way off in the distance. Back through the channel to look for dolphins. We do the loop then head to Pine Cay, still no dolphins. A needle fish is surprised by our boat and takes off on the surface bouncing from wave to wave going as fast as he can to get away from us. He looked like a mogul skier. We have company coming and are thinking we should head back. We thought one more pass from Leeward to at least Ocean Club. Just as we're about to head back, I see two familiar dorsals heading toward our boat! I get in with JoJo and Snipper. They are such good buddies. They pass under me playing flipper footsie and stroking each other. JoJo comes up beside me and I see an abrasion at the front of his dorsal. I wish he'd be more careful. I think he wants me to swim with Snipper so I cross over and Snipper seems just fine with my swimming beside him. Snipper starts to play with me. He dives then comes at me flips over and does it again. Snipper and I have gone a long way together. We continue to travel along and I think JoJo is behind us but I don't see him anywhere. I notice John isn't following along in Spy Hop, either. Maybe JoJo is with him. A boat comes by dragging some girls in a raft behind his motor boat. The girls just figure I'm out in the ocean swimming with my dolphin friend which is actually correct. She then asks if I'm riding the dolphin!! REALLY? John sees a boat coming toward me and catches up. He tells me JoJo was with him. He didn't want a ride but did want to sleep. He caught a quick nap before John had to move off to protect me from the boats. The water was so murky and I was having a hard time following Snipper. He even had to circle back to get me one time! Its so hard to see that I decide to get out. Both John and I start looking for JoJo. Between the abrasion and his being tired we are concerned. Moments later JoJo comes along, Snipper swims right to him and they head towards Leeward together. All is well. Now we can go meet our company!
Monday, February 12, 2018
Hi All, It looks like the same sort of day we've had for a week sunny, winds building through out the day. We are decidedly late leaving the marina. The osprey are sitting together in their nest. They have clearly had their fish breakfast. There are no whales outside Leeward. Our hydrophone tells us they are far away. They probably know the tour boats all come out about this time with lots of loud tourists and they have moved on:)
Sunday, February 11, 2018
Hi All, I'm getting kinda used to this seeing a whale each morning at Leeward and I like it! Just like yesterday, we drop the hydrophone, hear lots of great vocalizations, motor a little way and there's a humpback! He once again blows then dives deep with his tail propelling him down.
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Hi All, After dodging rain and basically giving up yesterday, we are out at the break of dawn today. The osprey is flying over head carrying a big fish to his mate for breakfast. The water looks flat at the moment. We know the wind will be coming up as the day goes on. I'm thinking a quick trip past the reef at Leeward for a whale check. We pass through the channel markers and head out. There's a little rain coming our way just enough to make a beautiful rainbow.