Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why One Shouldn't Feed Wild Dolphins

Not to worry this isn't JoJo!!!

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More dolphin news

Sue Tanner <>
to me
Jay  another story this morning  so  sad   we need you talking in our schools and out there in the media....  :)

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A dolphin known as "Beggar" for his tendency to approach boaters for food has been found dead, possibly as a result of his poor diet.
Beggar was found floating in the water near Albee Road Bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway in Sarasota, Fla., on Friday (Sept 21). His body was partially decomposed, making it impossible to determine the exact cause of death. However, the dolphin's digestive tract contained fishing hooks, squid beaks (not usual prey for dolphins in the area) and ulcers, suggesting that humans may have contributed to his demise.
According to the Mote Marine Laboratory, for the past 20 years, Beggar has been hanging out in the area where he was found dead. He was known to approach boats looking for food. During 100 hours of observations over several months in 2011, researchers with the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program observed Beggar interacting with humans 3,600 times. People tried 169 times to feed Beggar an impressive range of 520 foods, including beer and hot dogs. On 121 occasions, boaters tried to pet the dolphin. Nine times, they were bitten for their efforts.
Over the years, the dolphin became a poster child for why feeding marine wildlife is illegal. The behavior put Beggar at risk of getting hit by a boat, Mote reported, and other dolphins seemed to learn his bad behavior by watching him. [Gallery: A Dolphin Success Story]
It is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to feed or pet wild dolphins. Punishments include up to $100,000 in fines and up to one year in jail per violation.
The Sarasota County Marine Patrol brought Beggar's body in for a necropsy (animal autopsy) at Mote. Scientists found the dolphin had been struck by boats in the past; he had healed boat scars on his dorsal fin as well as several healed puncture wounds on his fins and body. He also had multiple broken ribs and vertebrae.
Beggar had not eaten much before death. Dolphin stomachs are made up of three compartments. In Beggar's first stomach compartment were three fishing hooks and fragments of fishing line. In his third stomach compartment, researchers found the squid beaks, suggesting human feeding with fishing bait, and several ulcers. Beggar was also dehydrated, possibly because of his skewed diet, Mote reported. Two old stingray barbs were also embedded in Beggar's flesh.
"We can't say which of these many injuries was the ultimate cause of death for Beggar," Gretchen Lovewell, the manager of Mote's Stranding Investigations Program, said in a statement. "But all of our findings indicate that he was in poor health for a long time and that his interactions with humans played a role. Boat strike wounds, fishing hooks and line in his stomach — even the squid beaks we found — all of these things indicate that he was spending more time attempting to get food from humans than foraging on his own."
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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Another Great Day with JoJo

Hi All,
Today we found him right at Club Med, first thing in the am. Seems the longer I'm here, the easier it is to find JoJo and the more he uses our Taxi Service!  My daughter, Kristen and I swam with JoJo for quite awhile right in front of OC. He had a few nice rolls in the sand and checked out a large school of fish. He then wanted a ride all the way to the end of Pine Cay where he traded our boat with Big Blue which has a much bigger wake to surf! He did come back however, and wanted to go all the way past Smith Reef which is MILES away! (click on the map)
We tried to get him to accompany us for a snorkel at Smith Reef but he traveled right through the reef with us and continued back toward toward Beaches. We stayed to snorkel since John has barely been off the boat in two days!! We saw a lots of turtles, one that was tagged (project to follow where they go); Horse Eyed jacks; Eagle rays; Atlantic Spade fish to name a few!! GREAT REEF!!
 After dining at Tiki Hut, we resumed the hunt for JoJo. We found him at Leeward. We motioned to a few captains that the dolphin was with us and a major dolphin traffic jam ensued with as many as 7 boats all crowding around him. I used to think all the activity was an invasion of his space but he seems to enjoy it. After they all went on their way, off we went with JoJo in our wake.
This video is from yesterday when at one point we had four boats all abreast hoping that their guests would get pictures of JoJo and that JoJo might like their wake enough to follow their boat.              
I'm quite sure that one reason JoJo wants to travel up and down the coast is that he's looking for other dolphins. He usually branches off opposite the cuts through the reef. I believe the dolphins come through these cuts to spend time with JoJo. I'm sure the mothers and calves come inside the reef for safety. JoJo seems to escort them.

A Full Day with JoJo

Hi All,
What a great day we had!! With the help of the boat captain at Beaches, we found JoJo bright and early and were with him all day. We even went into lunch and found him after! The best part is my daughter who has met JoJo a few times, got some long swims with him and I think he would be happy to swim with her without me around. The video is me filming JoJo and Kristen!!
We were with JoJo in the channel at Leeward when a HUGE school of Horse Eyed Jacks went by. Some of the Jacks  were as big as I'd ever seen. Later, after some anchor play, JoJo went down and briefly harassed a Nurse Shark. I had turned off my camera and missed most of the the encounter but if you look carefully, you can see the shark swimming away!
JoJo was at his best with all the tour boats. There were times when there were four boats abreast all watching him in the wake. I think some times he likes attracting a crowd!
The only bad part of the day was that both water scooters died and Kristen and I swam for hours with no help!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Calf Encounter

Hi All,
The weather is finally calming down after a front passed through. We cruise around Grace Bay most of the morning after John went back to the marina to once again deal with the cooling valve. On our way up to Pine Cay, we heard there were dolphins from the captain of a Big Blue boat. We spot a single dorsal and find JoJo who gives us a quick swim-by. He then disappears and we can't find him again.
We head back in the direction we think he was going to see if he wants a ride but can't find him. Once we get to a wreck, which is half way down Pine Cay, I see a dorsal and think we found him. Instead its  a mom and calf! They stay fairly close to the boat, so I get in. They circle me but stay far enough away, so I couldn't really figure out if I knew them. I get back in the boat because and a third dorsal appears!! JoJo has caught up! He comes over to Catch Ride as I get in and brings me right over to them. Now, they will let me swim very near. The calf comes right up.  I don't know him, but he's just like Lemon Lips swimming all around, circling again and again. This calf has some bumps on his head and long, thin pecs. He also has a very upturned "smile".  John said at one point, JoJo and Mom had gotten pretty far away while the calf and I were busy playing and circling.  JoJo came back to see what was going on or maybe tell us to get moving!!
There were times it was so murky I couldn't see anything and they even circled back to get me! I would try to stay inches from JoJo so I could follow but if he dove down at all I would lose sight of him. John and Kristen, my daughter would yell and point to tell me where they were. We had three great hours of playing before they started to swim in formation and speed up.
JoJo wasn't giving me the cold shoulder when we saw him alone he was on a mission to find these two (phew). If it wasn't for him, I would never be able to get so close or  to play with this calf for so long.
If that wasn't cool enough, we headed out to snorkle at the reef and I saw a spout way, then a tail. We motored around trying to find the whale.  We eventually gave up and headed towards another snorkel spot. As we motored away, I saw another spout. We went back out again.  Every time we thought we'd head in, we'd see another spout or whale! We finally had to leave as we had dinner reservations and the sun was setting!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

please sign to help keep dolphins and whales safe

Dear Friend of Whales, Dolphins and other Sea Creatures, 
Despite the outcry of 625,000 of us who signed the previous petitions and are passionate about saving the last of the endangered whales, as well as thousands of other whales, dolphins and sea creatures, the Department of Fisheries/NOAA has decided to allow the US Navy to proceed with their plans to decimate our ocean populations with sonar sounds, exploding bombs and sinking of ships. In the Navy's estimation there will be 31 million incidents of harm over the next 5 years to our ocean friends. The harm can range from disrupting their migratory patterns, ability to get food, communicate with their young, permanent hearing loss or bleeding to death. This figure is staggering!
This is our last opportunity to have our voices heard; to let them know we are not going to quietly go away, and that we are aware of their irresponsible decision. Our strength lies in our numbers when we act together. If each one of us shares this information with a few friends, we can create a groundswell of people willing to say "that's enough"!
Please sign this petition, post it on social media sites and get at least 3 or more of your friends to sign. We need to make this a major media event. If we stand by and do nothing we may loose a vital part of our natural ocean species. Is one click of your mouse too much to ask to save our oceans? Department of Fisheries/NOAA is accepting comments only until March 11, 2013. Please act now by clicking on the link to add your voice.
Thank you,

Lyndia Storey, Kim McDermott, Lance Leonard, Wes Jordan
The Whale and Dolphin Watch Team 


This message was sent to AH by Lyndia Storey fro

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Video of Lemon Lips and B.B. Tip

Hi All,
These clips show Lemon Lips coming back to see me then darting off. He was hard to keep in the frame because the Gopro is on my wrist and he kept circling. B.B. Tip came by occasionally but was a little ahead most of the time.
I met these calves last winter they are now a little over a year old. They stay with their mothers up to three years. They are still nursing.
We saw Shortie and Peanut yesterday but they won't swim with me. They don't even want our boat too close. I need JoJo or Bo to give me an introduction. JoJo tried but I had a mask malfunction and had to return to the boat.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Whale video

Hi All,
This is John's video of the three whales. Mom calf and escort passing by John.
Later I'll send Lemon Lips and B.B. Tip playing.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Day In Cetacean Paradise

Hi All,
It started out with the Cuban crows making a racket outside our condo. I knew that was a good sign! The water was pretty flat when we headed out and got better and better as the day went on. By the end of the day there was no wind at all.
We headed out toward Grace Point as we usually do and as we progressed every boat Captain pointed toward Turtle Cove. Off we went at speed. When we arrived at the buoys marking the channel, we radioed Alister, the Captain of the Under Sea Explorer, that we heard there were dolphins coming his way. It was a bit premature since we didn't see any! We looked around a little then started to head back toward Grace Point and noticed two boats stopped. As we approached, we saw one, then three, then four dolphins. I hopped right in and Lemon Lips zoomed right over!! It apparently was play time as both Lemon Lips and B.B. Tip kept coming right to me whizzing around then zipping off usually upside down. We all swam together for a long time with lots of interaction. It was clear so I got great video footage of all the activity.
Raggedy Ann went off on a mission and left Bo in charge of the calves. She was cool with me swimming near her as the calves played and came by. She was on my left and they were on my right. It is truly an honor to have her trust me so much with her charges.
At one point she and Lemon Lips were on the bottom exploring and Lemon Lips came up with a Puffer fish. He had it in his mouth, let it go it, started to swim away and grabbed it again only to let it go, again. The dazed little fish slowly swam off apparently unharmed. I would guess Lemon Lips was only playing with it.
Raggedy Ann returned and the dolphins started to swim in formation with the calves right under their  respective moms. They were heading past OC and eventually along Pine Cay which is where we lost sight of them. In the mean time, we heard from Alister that JoJo and another showed up near his boat. The Under Sea Explorer is a glass bottomed, "semi-submersable" that allows passengers look at the reef from an underwater viewing area. He said that at the end of the trip JoJo followed him into Turtle Cove where Alister keeps the Under Sea Explorer.
John and I figured maybe all the dolphins would show up at the North end of Pine Cay at the end of the day. That spot is a favorite meeting place.
We however couldn't find anyone so decided to head back down the coast toward Leeward and see if the moms and calves doubled back or if JoJo was heading our way.
We saw Andy another boat Captain who told us JoJo was a little way back heading in our direction. We went off to find him.
As we approached the red buoy that marks a reef outside of Little Water Cay, JoJo popped up in-front of our boat and turned over as we glided over him, one of the signals that he's looking for a ride. We turned back toward Pine Cay again and JoJo got in our wake.  As we expected he was on his way to the North end of Pine Cay. However, when we finally got there after his branching off to fish and do dolphin things then repeatedly ask for another ride, there were not only no other dolphins but JoJo disappeared. I think he'd had plenty of interaction that day and was done with us humans!
We headed out toward the reef enjoying how perfectly flat the water was. My plan was a little payback for all he boat driving John had done. I thought we could fit in a snorkel where John got to get in the water.
As we got to the cut in the reef, there in front of us was a spout!! Three humpback whales were milling around, Mom, calf and escort all near the surface. The calf started breaching clear out of the water. John got in and all three swam right by him and around the boat. Just like with the dolphin calves the whale calves are all rambunctious and curious.
Does it get any better than that!!