Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Time To Go Home

                                                          BE BACK IN 2 WEEKS

Monday, December 29, 2014

Making Sure I'm There

Hi All,
                                             Humphrey as I call him frequents Ocean Club.

We are down to our the days of December and the last days of this trip. I so want to see if any of the dolphins I know have had a calf. I keep hearing that others have seen JoJo with a mother and calf but we haven't. John slows down to look at another boat to see if they have a dolphin around when PFFFF I hear JoJo right beside the Spy Hop. He must have been coming to find us! We once again spend the day taking JoJo up and down the coast. He occasionally stops to see if any other dolphins are around or to entertain a tour boat. There was no pay off. We didn't find others (YET). I included a shortened video from two days ago when he scratched on the anchor line and then took me with him toward the reef. He's looking back at me as if to be sure I was coming along.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

JoJo Having the Best Anchor Line Scratch

Hi All,
How lucky are we! There's JoJo behind White Sands a big World Cat catamaran motor boat. We had just been hiding back in the channels to escape a rain storm and decided to come out onto Grace bay. JoJo stays in their huge wake all the way to the beach on Pine Cay where they pull in and anchor. JoJo stays around briefly but perhaps due to the many people trying to swim with him he moves off toward Pine Cay. We pick him up and our day is back to taking him where ever he wants. I feel he's really, really wanting to find some friends as he takes us up and down the coast occasionally branching to call and see any one's around.  On our second trip to Pine Cay he branches and swims around in the same area but doesn't want to take a ride This Is My Moment!! Besides wanting to scratch all over his body including the very tip of his fluke (tail) he has an awesome melon(head) scratch. In between sessions of screeching he swims around Spy Hop then back to the anchor line. At the very end of this wonderful scratch he heads slowly out toward the reef after coming really close and looking at me. Was he saying none of my friends are here you'll have to do? Or maybe, want to come to the reef? Anyway I am honored as always to go with him.
This is a long clip I had a hard time cutting anything out! The part where he comes to look at me had a bubble on the screen but maybe tomorrow I'll attach some of it anyway.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Xmas With JoJo

Hi All,
Beautiful, beautiful day here in Turks and Caicos only made better by hearing it's pouring and nasty at home in New England. We haven't seen JoJo in two days although I hear he was in front of The Sands resort with a calf. I am dying to meet the calf and see if I know the mom. I'm perched on the bow watching the water like a hawk when John says, "Come back here". I'm thinking really? Take my eyes off the water just when we are opposite The Sands where people saw him? I turn back to the stern and there's JoJo in our wake!! He snuck up on us! He usually comes to the front, flips over on his back, scares me half to death, glides under the boat and resurfaces in our wake. In 15 years we have never hit him but it still gives me a fright! Off we go up and down the coast, Turtle Cove to Pine Cay then back. He branches off just beyond Seven Stars and swims right into the swim area. We are right in front of "flipper lady's" resort. Lady Tamara, the Seven Stars boat is sitting there with Santa aboard. I think they are waiting for passengers.  JoJo is circling their boat. I think he's going into sleep mode so I join him as he circles. From shore, I'm hearing "there's JoJo" and see people swimming madly out. I see Sheila (flipper lady) and tell her to come meet JoJo. The others never quite make it there. John's put down the anchor hoping to keep JoJo around our boat. JoJo enjoys a few trips up and down the line to scratch a few itches. Sheila gets to meet JoJo before he and I head off for a nice swim with a trip to the buoy. He likes to watch it as I kick it with my foot. As we are swimming along there are Hobies and crazy motor boats dragging various rubber sharks and other toys loaded with tourists. Under the water however, it's very peaceful with JoJo. I'm loving it other than worrying that I might get run over! JoJo wants to move on so, I climb back in and we pick up JoJo in our wake. Many more trips up and down the coast. By now all the boat captains (at least 15 of them) know he's in our wake. They start bringing their boats right beside us so their tourists can see the famous JoJo. I think that was JoJo's Xmas present to all.

Monday, December 22, 2014

JoJo and Raggedy Ann

Hi All -
The wind that was supposed to come up yesterday is here today. After doing our usual dolphin circle, we are thinking about going back early to get caught up on life when we see a tour boat circling in a dolphin-sighting like way. I see a dorsal to the right of the boat and notice everyone staring off to the left. So JoJo's entertaining the crowd and his friend is off fishing. I get in and there's a dolphin flying along the bottom in hot pursuit of a fish. She comes up and looks right at me then lets me follow close behind. Her fluke has the familiar snip out of it so I know it's Raggedy Ann. I am feeling quite warm and fuzzy that she seems to want me there. She speeds up to continue her quest for fish when I notice another dolphin right behind me. That of course is JoJo. They join up and even over the noise of my scooter I can hear loud whistling. Hmm what's that about? I get back into Spy Hop and we watch them separate to do more fishing. Soon we are opposite the Leeward Cut. Up pops another dorsal. It appears to be a young frisky dolphin that is totally uninterested in swimming with me! I'm hoping JoJo will come make an introduction but they never get together. I'm not sure if the whistling was for the other dolphin and if so why didn't they get together? If I could only ask!

I'm including some video from the other day that has beautiful Bo cruising along the bottom on her side while she echolocates a tasty morsel.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

JoJo's Ladies

Hi All,
There's a forecast for increasing winds as the day goes on, but it looks great to me. We start out of Leeward heading in our usual direction but don't see any dorsals. We decide to go to Smith's Reef which  is one of the best snorkeling sites around. You can get there by boat or swim to it from shore. We find lots of turtles, my favorite, Eagle rays, and two large schools of Horse Eyed Jacks. One of the rays is nosing through the sand to find shellfish morsels. The best way to find an Eagle ray is to look for a cloud of sand as you swim through the sea grass.
We cruise Grace Bay again with no luck and decide to go out the South Side just in case there is a dolphin meeting where JoJo brought us the other day. After 12 miles straight out, all we see is nothing, not today! On our return trip, a boat captain starts waving and pointing. We're off through Leeward and out on to Grace Bay looking for dolphins.
We see a yellow boat traveling slowly and sure enough JoJo's in the wake. We wait for them to turn in a direction he doesn't want to go and pick him up in our wake. He's off toward Pine Cay right behind us. John spots more dorsals ahead. We turn towards them. We expect JoJo to branch off but, he stays in our wake. Soon there are three dolphins surfing the wake behind our boat side by side. As they get further and further out, still surging in the wake, John stops and they keep coming right toward our boat. Clearly, that's my invitation. I see JoJo, Raggedy Ann (RA) and a beautiful dolphin with no marks or scars. Could it be Bo? There is a lot of contact between her and RA and they are obviously great friends. She comes up to look at me. Now, I know for sure it's Bo. I haven't seen her since February! She has always been friendly with me with or without JoJo. We start to swim towards Pine Cay. JoJo falls in behind RA, Bo and me. He now has all his favorite ladies!
For some reason I'm not clever enough to place videos where I want them. Hopefully you'll see Horse Eyed Jacks first; RA and Bo with JoJo right behind me; then Bo coming to say "Hi". JoJo does seem to want me right with his other lady friends:)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Panto

Hi All,
Turks and Caicos has a very active performing arts community. One of their events is the pantomime. The pantomime is based on old English vaudeville theatre. This year A Caribbean "Sleeping Beauty" was the production. It was hilarious,witty and dazzling! There is much audience participation with clapping, booing, singing and cheering. There are plenty of digs no one came out unscathed including local personalities, businesses and of course the government! Although it's a stage production, there was video section in the middle. This portion had the three good fairies in outrageous costumes hurtling through town on a lime green rent a buggy with Muddles the court jester and Nanny Antonella the gay nanny all hanging out as they went chasing down clues trying to find where the prince and JoJo were in jail! This was truly hilarious as a camera filmed them going in and out of places hunting down clues.
To my great enjoyment, they got in a lot of digs at the captive dolphin program that the government is trying to start. When the evil Malificent takes JoJo to jail, there is thunderous boos and jeers from the audience. JoJo was in evidence through out the production either dancing to the music or in jail. He is truly a beloved dolphin in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

To catch you up on what JoJo is up to! He was traveling with two others and again tried to bring me to them but I was too slow. This is a short clip of JoJo in front of Seven Stars.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

JoJo Meets up with a Dolphin on the South Side

Hi All,
This morning I'm hoping we will find out if the calf from yesterday is in fact Raggedy Ann's. JoJo however, has another plan. We see him following the Beaches catamaran, The Katt. We figure they will head off in a direction he doesn't want to go and he will join us! The Katt heads into Leeward and JoJo is right behind them until they turn around. JoJo wants to head out the South Side again. He gets in our wake and stays there way past where we brought him the other day. We are almost out of sight of land when he branches off. I'm watching like a hawk not wanting to lose him again and dying to know what he's up to. He pokes around a little then a shape appears and there's the answer. I get in to meet this dolphin and try to identify it. JoJo does his best to introduce me. I'm sure I've never seen this one before. I think it's a she and she's quite shy with me but very playful and frisky with JoJo. I wish I knew whether this was a planned meeting or a coincidence. I hope you enjoy the snippets of video I got of her. JoJo is the bigger dolphin who is almost always closer to me.

Breakfast With JoJo

Hi All,
JoJo graciously takes me along with him as he has a few fish snacks for breakfast. I'm watching him swing his head back and forth as he echo locates than dives down to grab his prey. Now he wants to get going so, he heads toward Turtle Cove. I get back into the boat to accommodate his wish and he rides the wake. No one here, so back we go all the way to the end of Pine Cay searching, searching where are my friends?
We lose him and motor off to the marina for gas figuring he'll be somewhere around Pine Cay when we get back. Yes! There he is and we see a little dolphin near him. I'm sure that's what he's been looking for. I get in with JoJo and he tries to take me to the calf but I'm too slow. We wait. There seems to be a flurry of activity and we see more shapes in the water. A big dolphin surfaces making a fishing dive. We can't make out how many there are. I get in.  As I get to the dolphins, one is hanging vertically in the water trying to get at something in a crevice between some rocks. JoJo is right there watching. He comes behind me and as I get closer I see the familiar fluke of Raggedy Ann. Exhilaration, mostly happy for JoJo that his best friend (wife?) is back. Now to find out if the calf is hers.

Monday, December 15, 2014

video and correct pics !!

here is the picture that shows his dorsal leading the way through the mega yachts
I am having problems uploading video so go to

JoJo Leads Me into New Territory

Hi All,
The weather hasn't been its usual sunny self. There seems to be a front stalled over Turks and Caicos making it cloudy and windy with high seas.
I'm dressed for adventure in my wet suit and eager to find JoJo despite the cold. As we head toward Grace Point, an "Island Vibes" boat is picking up people from their resort. The captain is waving us over.  He tells us JoJo was in Turtle Cove when he left the Marina. Off we go. John and I are both remembering the days when we would not only be getting soaked but bounced all over in Catch Ride.
We head into the Marina looking for JoJo's dorsal but see no sign of him. We head back hoping he went toward Grace Bay. He did!
He pops up in front of our bow at Coral House, flips over on his back and glides under Spy Hop. We figure we are off to the end of Pine Cay. We are wrong! He branches at the Leeward Cut and heads into the channel. Not just into the channel, but through the docks where the mega yachts are tied up. I am in the water following along past all these enormous boats. People are peering down from the decks to see what the heck is going on! JoJo checks a few out as he goes by then vanishes under the dock. I'm not swimming under that dock even to follow my buddy!! John brings Spy Hop, which now looks like a toy boat amongst all these mega yachts, into the docking area to pick me up. The question is which way did he go??? I think maybe he went through the Marina and out to the South Side. This would be only the second time we have followed him through Leeward in all the 15 years I've known him.
We find him he is right opposite the conch farm in very shallow water. They actually grow conchs in this fenced off area. It looks like a field of round pens!! It's a good thing too because the conchs are dwindling from over harvesting. Many places in the Caribbean and Florida have protected the Queen Conch. Turks and Caicos still thinks there is an unlimited supply.
I get in the water to find JoJo chasing two juvenile nurse sharks. They really are cute when they are little. He's darting around, too fast for me to follow so I climb back in Spy Hop. He now wants to catch a ride. We take him way out past the wreck in the direction of South Caicos. He then branches off and is gone. I'm looking and hoping to see the two boys from the other day. I'm sure he's out here looking for them. I hope he finds them.
JoJo taking through the yachts 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Ted's video

Hi All
This is a great video of the channels and dolphins. Unfortunately it doesn't show when Lemon Lips got more friendly but it sure shows how I can't see anything on my first attempts.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

South Side

Hi All,
The afternoon I arrived the water was its usual dazzling self. The ocean was flat as I went for a nice long swim to wash away any jet lag. I did notice a slight swell but didn't think a thing about it as I started preparing for the next days adventure in the boat.
Since John was coming down later after attending a convention, I hired Eddie a boat captain. Eddie grew up on South Caicos and knows the water well. There isn't anyway I can get in the water without someone manning the boat. I invited two good friends who wanted to get some dolphin footage and check out Spy Hop.
Morning arrives and I hear the surf pounding from my condo. Hmmm, not good. Apparently during the night a front from the north pushed some big swells down towards the islands.  As we poked our nose out of Leeward, the waves are huge and there is a stream of tour boats coming to the South Side looking for quiet water.
Eddie tells us he has seen dolphins out near the channels on the back of North Caicos. We head out hoping to find some. After not spotting any dorsals, we start exploring the channels. If I can't be with dolphins there's no greater place to be. The channels are lined with mangroves. Birds are hiding in the branches and fish are swimming in and out of their massive root systems. There is a whole community of wildlife based around these channels. The mangroves are the driving force. Their long roots reach down trapping sand to form mud flats and the roots are busy turning the salt water into fresh water to nourish the rest of the plant. Herons are screeching their disapproval of our coming to their private sanctuary. I'm looking for the little crabs that use leaves as rafts and mention this to Eddie who is familiar with them. He says it makes it easy for the fish to snap them up. I always thought of them being a sort of A La Carte crabs on a plate for the birds!
Eddie knows these channels like the back of his hand which is a good thing because one could easily get totally lost back there!! He expertly guides our boat through the narrow channels. The tide is coming in and creating a strong current making it tricky to keep our bigger boat from either getting caught up on a sand spit or run into the mangrove roots that reach out into the channel.  He takes us to a large mangrove island where the red mangroves tower above all the others. There must be over a hundred herons of all sizes covering the branches. They're most displeased with our approach and start flying away. Spectacular watching them fly off. Some disappear but others stay close by.  Perhaps they had their babies and didn't want to go far. We start off down another channel that magically comes out on the other side of the peninsula of land. I'm really taking mental notes so John and I can find it again. The mouth is well hidden and very shallow. Eddie has the motor trimmed up and we slowly sputter along until it opens up to a wide and fairly deep channel with the occasional turtle popping its head up.
The channel comes out on the other side of Muddy Point  behind Pine Cay and Delis Cay. Suz spots a dorsal and the fun begins:) We follow it along until as I expected, we see another dorsal. They come together and start playing with our boat crossing under the bow, turning on there sides and looking up at us. Ted is sitting with his long legs draped on either side of the bow taking video with a GoPro. When the dolphins come under the boat his feet almost brush their dorsals. When they slip out to the side, we get in front and I get in to see if I can swim with them. They come by but it's way too murky for me to even see them. In between my attempts of swimming with them they play with the boat darting to and fro under the bow.
We finally get into some clearer water where I can start to see them. They are whizzing around me in circles then off to the bow. Each time I try, I'm getting a longer swim with them. The smaller one seems to like me and I can now see that he has the same mark on his fluke that Lemon Lips has perhaps a little more tattered. Is it him? From the boat we are thinking, maybe male and female. We see them belly to belly. Are they mating? I get in again. NO definitely two males!! and they are aroused. They keep circling me and swimming under me. The water is maybe 4 feet deep. How fun is this! Off they go and as I climb in to Spy Hop I ask Ted if he'd like to get in when they come back around. He climbs in but they swim off. I'm curious to see if they will now swim with me again. This time, the little one circles me then lets me swim with him like I do with JoJo. Now I'm pretty sure it's Lemon Lips. Maybe the other one is B.B.Tip!  I get back on the boat totally exhilarated by our time together. A state of euphoria that comes from swimming with dolphins! They start to separate and we decide it's time to head home.


Friday, November 28, 2014

A Happy Happy T Day

Hi All,
It's a gorgeous TCI day as we leave Leeward. We are setting out really early because I've been stewing all night about the fact that someone saw a large dolphin (JoJo) and two small dolphins (calves) playing in front of The Sands while we were someplace else. One of them spy hopped to look in a boat that was watching. First, how did we miss them?!  Second, I hope he was looking for ME!
As we slowly travel by Beaches, a dolphin on his side zooms under us at speed. He can apparently hold his breath forever because although we look for him, we never see him again.
Just, as we are finishing another "dolphin loop"around the bay, we see JoJo hanging out just past Coral House. I whip out my gear, get in the water and swim over. He's very interactive and rather playful. After we swim together for a while, he spots the ski boat and gets in the wake as they make big circles with a little rubber raft being dragged behind. There is so much activity that JoJo is drawing a lot of attention. By now, there are at least seven tour boats all coming to watch the famous JoJo. It's great to see he's still frisky and playing with humans. After a little more showing off, he starts heading in the direction of Turtle Cove. John makes a pass by him to see if he's ready for a ride. He is!
Off we go with various tour boats coming along side to watch him surf in our wake. Beaches biggest snorkel boat, "Cat 54" has a boat load of very young kids who can barely see over the side. They are all smooched together on their tip toes cheering wildly whenever JoJo surfaces.
After traveling down to Turtle Cove then back to the end of Pine Cay, JoJo wants a snack. Today, he seems to want me with him as he echo-locates along the bottom swinging his head back and forth. Sometimes he swims on his side. He glances back to see if I'm still there, then plunges his rostrum deep in the sand coming up with a Jaw Fish hanging out of his mouth. Just as I'm thinking how lucky I am to go crater fishing with a dolphin, he travels out toward the reef where he meets two more dolphins. After a happy greeting with much circling and rolling together, I catch up. JoJo swims around behind me and follows me as I go to meet the other dolphins.
One I've never seen before. The other I think is  "Whitey". I met him last year and remember him because of the distinctive white mark on his dorsal. He comes to look at me as if to say, "I remember you, too".   I notice he now has a big scar running horizontally at the base of his trunk, just in front of his fluke.
JoJo returns to his fishing as Whitey and the other dolphin slowly swim in the vicinity occasionally fishing. Everyone seems to be enjoying the day and the company.
Now, this is my kind of T day!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

North and Middle Caicos

Hi All,
With the weather coming in John and I decided to take a trip to North and Middle Caicos. We boarded the water taxi which gets you from dock to dock in 1/2 hour. We had made arrangements to rent a car from Mark Mclane who ironically, comes from Maine. After filling up with $7 a gallon fuel, we set off on our adventure. First, we went all the way to the far end of Middle Caicos where there had been plans for a development. After a 40 minute trip (the length of No. Caicos and Middle Caicos),
view from our room

Mudjin Harbour
 we drove10 bumpy miles off the paved road to the Casurina forest where we left our car and walked through the trees to the longest abandoned beach you can imagine. As we entered the forest, I noticed a nest up in one of the Casurina trees. Shortly there after, the Cuban Crows started shrieking at us and following us flying from branch to branch just over our heads!! Cuban crows are like our crows but they make a sort of gobbling noise much like a turkey! They followed us all the way to the beach and sat on branches about twenty feet away and continued to shriek their displeasure at our presence. Apparently the gobbling noise is used for friendly exchanges and the shrieking is used to tell us to leave! Perhaps that nest had some babies in it or they just didn't want their remote forest disturbed by humans!
After a walk down the beach where the wind was blowing a gale, we returned to our car without further incident with the Cuban crows!!
Our next stop was Daniels Cafe which sits right on the water. Daniel remembered us from our past visits and we had a nice chat before he served us the most amazingly yummy meal.The really fresh fish comes out whole and you have to be careful about the bones as you eat it. It comes with home made bread which is to die for and salad with the produce locally grown. We then went off to a new restaurant that has just been built that overlooks Mudjin Harbor, perhaps the most photographed view in the Islands. We wanted to see how the restaurant turned out. It was in the process of being built on our last visit. It was spectacular and the ice-cream was awesome!
When we got back on North Caicos we went right to The Pelican Beach Hotel, where we have stayed on previous visits.  There were a few people at the Baracuda Bar so we wondered over. Clifford and his wife own the hotel. Clifford was talking to a strikingly pretty lady who was working on her computer. She asked us if we were coming to the great celebration on Friday and Saturday. She said the Pelican was celebrating their 30th year in business. There would be two days of festivities including live entertainment. Maggie our new friend not only sings but runs the drama center on North Caicos. She then told us she's also a teacher of literature grades 1-9 at the school on North Caicos. I showed her my children's book to see if she could use it. She was very interested so, I planned to send Maggie more books on the water taxi when we got back to Provo.
Clifford's wife cooked us a great meal before we retired to our room which was about 50 feet from the ocean. We could hear the surf pounding all night. I couldn't wait to get up and step out for a swim at first light.
We had planned on a beautiful walk on the nature trail on Middle Caicos. However, due to all the rain there was a colony of  blood sucking mosquitoes that attacked the moment we got out of the car!! We ran back totally covered, swatting like mad with welts appearing all over. Apparently, they thrive on "OFF". We returned to the water taxi a bit ahead of schedule and I got a chance to talk to Ashton who oversees the dock. John and Ashton then sat down to a rousing game of dominoes which is set up under a gazebo and played regularly by many of the islanders.
The water taxi appeared and we boarded for the fast trip home and a chance to check out how the seas were for future boating.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

At Last

Hi All,
We have another day before the big blow arrives. As we are heading out of Leeward channel, we listen to Bob warning all boaters to beware of the strong system coming our way. I'm figuring we might get at least another day before having to stay on shore. I actually have booked a trip to North Caicos during the two reputed windiest days.
We do our cruise around Grace Bay then head up to Pine Cay all eyes on the water. The visibility is pretty good. We don't see anything and then, once again JoJo appears right in front of Spy Hop. Stealth dolphin! We're always honored that with all the boats out here he chooses Spy Hop. As we turn around to accommodate his wish to go back toward Grace Bay, I wonder whether he's hungry or looking for his friends. I feel for his longing to find others and hope he can locate some. We've been here a little over a week and the six times we've seen him, he's been covering a lot of territory searching.
When we get to the end of Grace Bay, he branches off and swims in a big circle with me trying frantically to keep up. I get back in the boat and he wants to go back in he direction we just came. I think he was calling to see if any one was there. We head back toward 7 Stars Resort where he branches off and instead of going toward his private  dinner area, he heads out toward the reef with me again following as best I can. I get back in Spy Hop and John tells me he has seen a dorsal of a smaller dolphin! JoJo then returns to Spy Hop and waits for me to get in staying close as we head towards the other dolphin. He wants me to come with him to the other dolphin. Unfortunately, the other dolphin is fishing and moving rapidly. JoJo picks up speed and then disappears. Even though we lose them, I'm so happy JoJo found his friend. I am looking forward to a meeting and finding out if its someone I've met before.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Private Dining Area

Hi All,
We were honored again with JoJo's picking our boat to take him wherever he chooses to go.
We were traveling along the end of Pine Cay closes to Leeward  when JoJo popped up beside our boat. Please understand that I spend every second on our boat searching the water for dorsals. Not once this trip have I spotted JoJo before he popped up at our boat! This would be a very different scenario if he were with other dolphins in which case I'd see dorsals and we'd motor over then he'd come to the boat.
In any case, JoJo indicated he wanted to go past Leeward and on past all the resorts. He branched off in front of 7 Stars and started fishing in earnest. I don't swim with him when he fishes by diving and chasing them. I think I may scare off the fish or just get in the way. Besides that, I can't keep up. When he fishes for the little fish that live in the sand he's cool with my company but today he's not after them. I think 7 Stars and the resorts nearby are his preferred restaurants! When you think about it, no humans can fish there and most dolphins don't come that close to shore so, JoJo goes into the swim areas and has his own private restaurant with his favorite fish that aren't touched by anyone else. Bar Jacks are one of his favorites.
I was quite sure JoJo would want a ride back up the coast to Pine Cay after his meal but actually we lost sight of him and truthfully, we were happy to return to the marina because it was getting late.
 I have been trying to learn how to bring our new slightly bigger boat into the slip. I'm preparing for John's not being here for the first couple of days on our next trip down. The day before I managed to get it in like an old pro. At home I have a CDL and can drive a nine horse trailer. I thought docking a boat should be a piece of cake. This time I didn't judge it so well. We weren't quite close enough to the edge for John to tie up so I tried to back out. First I almost crashed into the boat next door which was sticking out inconveniently. Then I managed to get the boat so close to the side wall of the marina I almost hit the motor and then almost hit another boat that was sticking out way too far from its slip in my opinion. I hope no one was watching because I must have looked like I was playing some sort of bumper boat game!!At that point,  I handed the controls over to John sufficiently humbled thinking I'd better stick to my truck and trailer!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Boating In The Caribbean

Hi All
As we pull out of Leeward, we go to channel 72 on our marine radio to hear Bob from Southside Marina give us the Cruiser's weather forecast. He warns of a stiff wind from  the East building during the day. He gives the tides, wave heights and various other nautical information as well as greeting to anyone who's listening and wants to radio in a "hello". After all the pertinent information, he does a quick ad for his marina, telling us they have showers, will give rides to the local market and have slips available!
We head out circling Grace Bay with hopes of finding JoJo before the waves pick up. On our second lap past 7 Stars Resort a dark form shoots under our boat. It's JoJo. There is no doubt in my mind that he now knows we are in the new boat Spy Hop, which was a concern when I decided to upgrade to a bigger boat. He wanted to give us a quick greeting but apparently had other things on his "To Do" list.
As we are looking for him to surface, we notice two old geezers (probably my age!!) sailing a very small Hobie Cat built for one person. They are having a great time! We can hear peels of laughter as they try to sail in the mounting wind. Clearly this is not their forte as tacking seems to be a mystery for them. This does not bode well, so we decide to keep an eye on them.
We motor off to chase down an inflatable toy which has gotten away from some child and is heading out to the reef. We snag it before it heads out to become a menace for marine life. Sure enough on our way in, we see the giggling old men now hanging onto the edge of their flipped over Hobie. They are trying to right it with no luck. We're not sure if the issue is with righting the boat in large waves or if they're just laughing so hard they can't move! As we pull up to try to help, so does the Beaches' rescue boat and a few other sail boats wondering what's going on. The man from Beaches determines that one pontoon has filled up with water and the boat will need to be towed in. He says he can't do it because he needs to get back to the people from his own resort. He tells the old men, they need to get their resort to come get them. This news is met with more merriment. Whatever they are on, I want some. By now all the curiosity seekers have disappeared and if it weren't for us they would be all alone with the  ever mounting wind pushing them further out to sea.  We ask them what hotel they are from so we can try to get a rescue boat to come get them. They said Wind Song but weren't too sure which building it was from the many hotels that line the shore. We head off to figure it out and try to get help. They were perfectly happy staying with their over turned Hobie, joking with one another the whole time. John drops me off at the hotel they pointed at which of course isn't the right one. I start running down the beach asking where Wind Song is. I get to Coral Gardens which I am familiar with and ask the beach attendant if he knows where Wind Song is and he has no idea. I go into the restaurant and the lady says its next door (can someone really not to know what hotel is right next door???) I head over and find the water sports guy who says they are sending a rescue boat. I decide to swim way out to a buoy and signal to John to pick me up once the guys are rescued. As I'm treading water and watching, I see a kayak approach John and the old men but no rescue boat. After what seems like hours, I decide to swim back in to see what happened to the rescue boat. When I reach the guy at the beach, he now tells me the rescue boat is broken and points up past the dune.
I look out to see that John is towing the kayak and the Hobie with one old guy sitting up front in Spy Hop like a boat ornament with a big grin. On the way in, John asked him where they were  from. He said, "From England. You know - you know land of  the sailors" and broke into hysterical laughter.
As I swim out to meet them, I can hear the other old guy laughing happily holding onto the mast as it drags him through the water. Apparently the kayak was the rescue boat!  The captain of the rescue kayak jumps off Spy Hop and starts to drag the Hobie and the kayak ashore. He's very eager to shake my hand. He seems to know all about our relationship with JoJo. The old guys say thank you and that they are enjoying their adventure (why I'm not sure).
As I get in Spy Hop John, tells me the nice guy from Wind Song in the kayak didn't know how to swim! It turns out that a plug wasn't properly installed before the boat was launched causing it to fill with water. If it had been, the result would have been different, perhaps not better but different! We can hear the old geezers howling with laughter at their adventure (near miss with death if you ask me) as we motor off  into the building waves.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Remora trying to Catch a ride

Hi All,
When I can't find dolphins, I like to snorkel at Smith's Reef. It was low tide and the water wasn't very clear but I thought you turtle lovers would like to see this turtle swimming along with a remora swimming above him. Remora's have a suction disk on the top of their heads which they use to attach themselves to other swimmers usually sharks but apparently turtles!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why Dolphins Should Not be in Captivity

Hi All,
The weather forecast was fifty percent rain but we thought we'd venture out and hope we were in the other 50%. The sea was totally flat making it perfect  for dorsal spotting. The trade off was no beautiful Turks sunshine.
We found JoJo right away in front of Seven Stars which is between Oc and Grace Point. He wanted a ride so we headed off in the direction he indicated. He got in our wake and stayed there until we got to the extreme south west end of the Island. We were opposite Northwest Point Resort which was Crystal Bay Resort not long ago. He branched off and in stealth dolphin manner and disappeared for about 20 minutes. Then surfaced near our boat and wanted a ride back toward Grace Bay. He stayed in our wake past Grace Bay and all the way to the point on Parrot Cay where Keith Richards supposedly owns a house. This was 3 and 1/2 hours later. If you look on the map on the website you'll see how far he went. I believe he was covering all this territory hoping to locate other dolphins.
I can't even imagine how miserable he'd be in a small enclosure.  He traveled all this distance and the day was just beginning.
 We left him at Parrot Cay due to the black sky coming our way. Here is a little video of JoJo in the wake.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

JoJo Greeting Me For Our first Swim of The Season

Hi All,
We finally made it down, only loosing one bag which the airline had us pay a huge overage fee it was so heavy (JoJo books!!). When they retrieved it they wouldn't deliver it because no one wanted to carry it!! Welcome to the Islands:)
I heard lots of reports that JoJo had been sighted in front of Ocean Club a few days earlier. That always gets my hopes up although I realize most people can't tell if it's him or another.
We traveled up and down the coast and were almost to the end of Pine cay when he surfaced beside our boat! He wanted a ride back toward Grace Bay. He stayed in our wake all the way to Leeward with me grinning like a cheshire cat as I watched him. He branched off at Leeward and I got in. The video shows a little of our first of many great swims yesterday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

JoJo is not the only Dolphion that swims with dogs

I'm sure most of you now that JoJo was great friends with a dog who lived on Pine Cay. The dog has now passed away but they used to swim together everyday. Apparently he's not the only dolphin that has a friendship with a dog! Meet Duggie

Only three weeks until I am back on Provo hoping to find JoJo healthy and happy!
My book in protest of  captive dolphins seems to be a hit with the kids. I will have them on Island and they are on Amazon if you want one.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Article from NPR Alaska

Hi All,
After connecting with a childhood friend from high school, she decided to write an article for NPR of Alaska about my experiences with JoJo. This is the link if you want to read it.

Soon I'll be back!!

Hi All,
I may not have been with the dolphins but I have been busy working to help dolphins remain in the wild. Last winter I wrote a children's book that I hope will help children realize what captivity does to pods of wild dolphins. I of course have JoJo being the hero and yes I play a small part:). I really hope you all will buy the book and give it to all your kids and grand kids. They can help spread the word that dolphins should remain in the wild.
You can buy it from Amazon, or me. "JoJo Saves His Friends" by Jay Sargent

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Hi All,
I have completed my dvd JoJo's World. I'm sure you will like it! I think if any of you teach any sort of marine studies that you would find this useful.There is lots of dolphin behavior as well as Humpback whale behavior. If you just have an interest in JoJo and his pod there is lots of underwater video. As an animal communicator told me he is an old soul with a great sense of humor. I hope you will enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it!
I can mail it to you if you send me a check and your address
Jay Sargent
330 Indian Ave.
Middletown RI

Sunday, April 6, 2014

JoJo's Cut is Healing

Hi All,
I'm happy to report JoJo's wounds look much better. It's amazing how quickly they heal. After the big front came through, we have been finding JoJo with Raggedy Ann everyday. They are happy to swim with me at least until a tour boat comes along and JoJo goes over and Raggedy Ann speeds up! I then have to start the process again of finding them and getting back in with them.
Unfortunately the time has come when I need to say good bye and get back to work. I did however write a children's book while I was waiting out the storm. JoJo is of course the hero! It shows from a dolphin's point of view what an awful thing a "swim with the dolphins" program is. Most of the people on this Island are fighting the government who wants to allow a swim with the dolphins program to come to the Islands. I'm hoping to help fight it through the children. Right now it's in court. When I return to Provo I hope to have a new DVD with lots of great footage  as well as a finished children's book.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tropic Birds

Hi All,
Every year at the time the Tropic Birds arrive. They are a pelagic bird that come to nest on the remote cays of the Turks and Caicos Islands. I look eagerly for their arrival each year. They are truly magnificent with their long flowing tail.
We saw three a few days ago. This one was looking for spot to nest on the far end of Fort George Cay, an uninhabited island.

Monday, March 31, 2014


Hi All,
As some of you may know a huge front just came through leaving the seas rough for a few days. Today however was totally flat until the end of the day.
We found JoJo first thing in the am. He was alone in front of Beaches. As you can see, he has sustained two cuts that are starting to heal.
After leaving JoJo we motored to the end of Pine Cay where we had found a whale the first day we were here. My brother's colleague had lent me a hydrophone and we dropped it in the water after the whale dove. He was singing loudly! Today we found a whale in the same place and we again used the hydrophone. This time we could here some sort of whale chatting faintly in the distance!!
Later in the day we found a mother and calf in the really murky water at the end of Fort George Cay. They were joined by JoJo and Raggedy Ann. I'm quite sure the mom and calf was Julia and Frisky. JoJo was instrumental as always in putting me right in the middle of the pod. Before he showed up, I couldn't get very close to Julia and Frisky.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sexually Charged

Hi All,
This is some more footage that I was horrified that I almost lost! The day after Raggedy Ann swam upside down in front of me. We came upon JoJo, RA, Lemon Lips and maybe BB Tip. The two juveniles  were clearly vying to mate with RA. You can see that they are aroused as they push each other out of the way and ram into one another. I assume that besides being males!! She was in estrous.

Fun Footage

Hi All,
We are back for our last trip of the season. When I was home we were able to retrieve some footage that went missing! The first one is with JoJo and Raggedy Ann. After JoJo and RA come to greet me, I follow RA who eventually takes me over a reef. You will occasionally see her waiting and looking to see if I'm keeping up!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

JoJo and Julia

Hi All,
Our last day until April has arrived. I'm so hoping to spend it with JoJo and friends.
We get lucky again and find JoJo and Raggedy Ann at Leeward heading toward Pine Cay. They are traveling at quite a clip which usually means they have a rendezvous with another dolphin or dolphins. They let me swim along with them but I have to swim like mad to keep up. Not only have all the cameras died but my feet have blisters from my flippers! When we get to the end of Pine Cay, they head out toward the reef and two more dolphins show up. This is the best time to swim with them. I get back in the water and JoJo heads for me. He always wants me in on these get togethers. Julia and Frisky have joined them. JoJo is being VERY amorous with Julia while Frisky goes off with Raggedy Ann. There is a lot of flipper footsie and stroking. They are so close to me, most of the time right under me. Julia looks right at me. Apparently she's cool with me watching. JoJo takes off like a shot as a school of Bar Jacks swim by. I hope he got one but I'm not sure. All of them come together again with me right in the middle. They treat me like I'm one of them. I notice they are all turning and I see a boat has come up so they are swimming away. They are keeping me with them. JoJo is going over to the boat. He acts like a decoy, keeping people's attention from the others.  Now, they are speeding up and I can't keep up. Some swimmers have gotten in the water and the dolphins want to distance themselves from them. If only people would either get in and not charge over (they might have a shot to swim with the dolphins) or they could just watch. I have been swimming with JoJo for 15 years and have built up his trust to swim with his friends. These people think if they can just go fast, they too will get to swim with the dolphins. After the boat leaves, they come together again but the moment's lost. Now, its time for us to head back to the marina, pack up and head for home. This has been the most amazing February for cetaceans and I'm thankful for every one of them.

Lemon Lips and JoJo

Hi All,
I'm always hoping to see the calves that have gotten older and left their moms. Lemon Lips was one of my very favorite calves. I called him that because his lips always had a yellow tinge. My second book has lots of encounters with him and his mom, Bo. A few days ago when I watched JoJo, Raggedy Ann and two male dolphins, I thought the smaller male might be Lemon Lips. Now I'm sure.
We found JoJo leaping out of the wake of Kenard's huge motor catamaran. JoJo decided to switch over to our wake. His ultimate goal was to catch a ride to the channel between Fort George and Dellis Cay. When we got there he branched off and started to swim slowly around. We were wondering what would happen next - sleep mode? fish? meet another dolphin?
I decided to see if he wanted company and as I was getting in I noticed another dorsal heading his way. The water was very murky.  I could barely see a foot ahead of me under water so I kept looking up to see where the dorsal's were heading. The new comer was closer to me so, I went in his direction. When I got there I recognized his fluke from the past day. He was the smaller of the sexually aroused dolphins. He had two slight notches out of the right  side of his fluke. He let me come up right beside him as he traveled along to greet JoJo. Clearly JoJo had come to this area to meet him. It was very murky and hard to see what was going on but I could see they were happy to greet each other. As they traveled to a slightly less murky area, I could make out more activity. I think JoJo was giving him some sex education as there was a lot of stroking and showing of male parts. I ended up right in the middle of it all quite a few times but they didn't seem to mind. It's all very natural to them, it's just our society that gets uncomfortable with that behavior. Later, Julia and Frisky showed up but decided to leave the boys and go fishing. Lemon Lips and I got a lot of time to play. He always liked it when I made little tight circles above him. It was quite shallow where we were and I started circling and he circled right below me. JoJo clearly wanted me to hang with him and left us for a while. When JoJo wants me to go to another dolphin he leads me to them then hangs there waiting for me to go to them. Unfortunately a tour boat came and put  swimmers in the water. JoJo and Lemon Lips moved away just out of their reach. I had to wait until they left to resume my fun. JoJo was following me around but Lemon Lips was still way off in the distance. Eventually they came together and started back toward Leeward. I really think that meeting has made me happier than all the others. I love Lemon Lips and wasn't sure I'd see him again. Not only did I see him but, he remembered me and our games.
I have mentioned Flipper Footsie as an affection thing dolphins do and I found a clip from a day that shows it. Its at the very end of the clip. It's a bit murky and JoJo comes right in from of me but if you look carefully you'll see two dolphins playing flipper footsie. They are Lemon Lips and Raggedy Ann.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Hi All,
I'm relieved to say Julia seems to have forgiven me. We found Frisky and Julia and one other dolphin maybe one of the horny males from yesterday. The male stayed way away but Julia and Frisky swam right up and let me stay right with them for a very long time. I'm so glad all's well. I am heading home on Friday and would hate to leave wondering if she was still carrying a grudge.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Dolphins, Dolphins and More Dolphins

Hi All,
For my daughter's last day we had a day I couldn't have scripted any better. We came out of Leeward and as I looked toward the reef I saw a long flash in the water and wondered what I was seeing. Moments later two dolphins made high breaches right beside each other. We were then able to watch six dolphins traveling at speed toward Pine Cay breaching and fishing. The formation they were making looked like a large swath. I thought perhaps they were on a large school of fish. As we got almost to Half Moon beach, they all started for the boat. I thought that would be an oportunity to get in with them. JoJo was of course there when I got in however, when I looked down so was a large Nurse Shark that they were probably chasing at that moment. I got back on the boat not wanting the already harrassed Nurse Shark to take it out on me which has happened before. The next time I got in I could see JoJo, Raggedy Ann, a smaller male dolphin and a large male dolphin. They were vying for mating rights with Raggedy Ann. There was a lots of bashing and shoving going on. One of the males who was ready to mate was shoved out of the way. He had his male part out and dragged it through the sand. I couldn't tell whether the other dolphin got his way. It was very exciting and very physical down there! I did have the whole thing on camera but I'm having some real problems with our cameras so I will only put a little up as the rest didn't import correctly.
Once they all settled down, Julia and Frisky showed up. There didn't seem to be any residue from our fishing incident. I thought maybe Kristen could join me because she had now been accepted by Raggedy Ann and JoJo. I also felt the males had one thing on their minds and would be fine. I was right and Kristen got in and swam near JoJo as I went up with the others. They took us all the way to the shallow area in front of Dellis Cay where they spent three hours slowly swimming around. I'm sure from the patterns they were making they were in sleep mode. By this time our scooters were out of battery and all the cameras were out of commission! We stayed with them hoping to see where they would go next. I have always wondered where they went after they got past Pine Cay. There are three channels they could go out or they could go over the reef. Today they moved toward the reef then vanished! I would assume they or some of them did go over the reef. Seeing I didn't actually see the dorsals heading over the reef, I still don't know for sure.
We headed back toward Leeward thinking we had had a great day and were ready to go in. Not twenty minutes had gone by when Kristen spotted a huge splash across the reef. Of course we had to see if it was a whale. When we got past the reef, we started seeing many, many dorsals. There was a huge pod of Bottlenose dolphins heading back toward Pine Cay. Perhaps that was the pod the others were waiting to join??? Kristen and I got in a few times. They were every where. By the last time, we got in they were swimming all around us. Some coming from way down in the blue staring at us the whole way as they came up to get a closer look. Some of the calves circled at speed the way they always do.  Without the scooters running, we could hear so much whistling and of course there were bubble trails from the whistles. As the sun started to set, we got back in the boat and headed for the marina, our heads filled with images of dolphins swimming around us.

Monday, February 24, 2014

JoJo and Raggedy Ann

Hi All,
The wind was still quite strong but luckily coming out of the East so, it helped flatten the waves. We were once again lucky to find JoJo and Raggedy Ann. Raggedy Ann was just great about my swimming right beside her just like how I do with JoJo.  They were also just fine with Kristen, my daughter coming along as well. Kristen has swum with JoJo quite a few times and I'm sure recognized her. She stayed right with JoJo and I went up with Raggedy Ann who usually is in the lead.  Later, we found a young whale close to the reef outside of Pine Cay. Kristen and John got in and watched him slowly swim by. The water was very clear and not too deep because they were so close to the reef.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Interesting Dolphin and Turtle Behavior

Hi All,
I was so happy and relieved to find JoJo and Raggedy Ann. More importantly, JoJo behaved in his usual manner bringing me to Raggedy Ann then staying behind me as I watched her. She let me stay right behind her as she flipped over and swam that way for a long time. In the video it's a little hard to see because she was right at the surface. After she rolled over and started to move off JoJo came by me. I'm not sure what that means but I would assume something! I actually thought maybe this was another male dolphin but after comparing the markings on her fluke it appears they are the same. Later, we went for a snorkel at the reef and had a Loggerhead Turtle come right behind the boat. He looked up into the boat. He was just inches from the swim ladder. He calmly took a breath and slowly swam off! Loggerheads are fairly big turtles; this one was about three feet. We see lots of Hawksbill  
Turtles which are usually quite a bit smaller. Later on we came upon two more dolphins that let me swim with them briefly one of them was White Tip a dolphin that I have seen with JoJo a few times.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pod of Spotted Dolphins, Whales and JoJo!! (heaven)

Hi All
We really had a banner cetacean day. The weather was windy but with our new bigger boat, it didn't really matter. As we were making the rounds looking for dolphins, I saw a giant splash out past the reef which could only be a whale. We gunned it out through the cut and found two whales. One of them must have gone in the other direction because we ended up with one. He traveled into an area where we have found mothers and calves. He then hung upside down for at least 15 minutes at a time with his fluke (whale tail) sort of flopped over like the photo shows! He would then surface take a breath and do it again. John was able to get right beside him and see the whole thing up close. He wasn't singing as we thought he might be. I think he would have kept doing this even longer but some tour boats came up and basically herded him away.
We then went back inside the reef and spotted JoJo and another dolphin in some very murky water. I was not able to figure out who he was with because they were traveling fast and I couldn't get close enough to see.  As we were following JoJo and his friend, we heard a radio call that there was another whale right outside Leeward Cut. We were right near there so, we hurried out. Just as we motored to a spout, I saw two dolphins hurtling through the water right beside out boat. My daughter, who has joined us for a week and I got in to find seven or so spotted dolphins. One of them got all excited and kept whizzing around whistling as he went. There were streams of bubbles following him everywhere. He circled then dove deep and came right up to us then circled and circled all as fast as he could go. They eventually moved off and we got back in our boat. We found them again and got back in. This time the wild one was way under us. We could just barely see him he was so deep into the blue. When he saw us he came up and the others appeared under him. So magical looking into the deep blue water and suddenly seeing dolphins emerge. He continued on with his circling games gaining more and more speed as he went. When the others started to move off he followed leaving Kristen and I looking into the deep dark blue wondering what else was down there!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Pod of Five Dolphins near West Caicos

Hi All,
I have been wanting to go to West Caicos for a long time. John and I had been there once with Catch Ride but it was a long,wet and bouncy ride even though it was a perfect boating day. We set out with hopes to see dolphins and whales. We saw a few blows on our way out but didn't hang with them. When the Island starts coming into view you can see a cluster of buildings. As you get closer you see it's a beautiful resort. The resort like many others never opened up usually due to a money related problem. After looking at the really nice resort, we explored the harbor they dredged for whatever boats they were hoping would be bringing people over.  We then started cruising the coast where all the great dive locations are. The wall is very near the coast so the dive buoys are right off the shore. What an amazing  place to come for a diver if they ever finish the resort and get it open. We found a pod of five dolphins. They were just fine with me traveling along with them but they were very deep most of the time. One calf did come up to get a closer look at me! I think I recognized one dorsal that I'd seen on the South Side. One dolphin was intent on tugging  at what looked like a piece of Finger coral. You will see him hovering above it. He was pulling  on it, swimming away then coming back to try to pull it free again. On the way home just as the sun was setting, we saw more blows and as we pulled up they dove in tandem showing us two tails side by side.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Julia is Upset with Me will JoJo help smooth it over?

Hi All,
This scenario is quite upsetting for me after taking a long time to build up trust between Julia and me. I am blaming the fish! I had gotten in the water to find Julia chasing after a Bar Jack that was swimming around the bottom then hiding in some coral. The coral looked like a purple tree. Before I knew it, the Bar Jack was swimming as fast as it could toward ME. It thought I would be a good place to hide from Julia who was coming equally fast after it. Once it got to me, I tried to bat it away. Julia however must have thought either I was hiding her fish or I ate it in any case she clearly didn't appreciate my getting in the way of her when she was fishing. You can see in the video her staring at me sometimes with her mouth slightly open. She then swam away a little bit still staring back at me (glaring I think), only to come back again and continue staring. I'm quite sure I was getting a piece of her mind and it wasn't nice. You will also see a few frames of her above the water staring at me! Frisky is swimming around perhaps wondering why his mom is so mad at his human friend that just the other day was babysitting him. Julia eventually swims back to the purple tree and resumes fishing. She does end up with the fish which I hope would sooth the situation.
I was very worried she would carry a grudge and remain angry with me and I was right! The next day   we came upon Frisky and Julia. When I first got in they swam away very fast so I couldn't catch up. Then they swam back toward the boat so, I got in again. Julia swam right over to me and tail slapped and hunched her back. These are all dolphin aggressive warnings. John could see better what was happening from the boat and told me I'd better get out of the water, which I did.  I found this so upsetting to have made an enemy out of Julia. I worried all night about whether JoJo could mend this situation or would side with Julia. After all he has to live with her! 
The next day we found JoJo. He was by swimming himself although I had seen two other dolphins in the area. He was his friendly self but was sonaring to see who was out there. After swimming around me following him, then him following me, Frisky showed up and was swimming at my side. I could see Julia and JoJo in front of us. I then lost sight of everyone and got back in the boat. In the distance Julia and Frisky were way off heading toward Pine Cay.  JoJo was staying in the area. Now what to think??? Normally he would have swum with them. Did he try to diffuse the situation? Did she not display any of her aggressive behavior because he was there? I guess time will tell how this plays out. The good part is JoJo and Frisky seem to have stayed my friends.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Manta Ray

Hi All,
Yesterday while traveling along the coast inside of the reef, I saw a dark shape in the water. I got in to investigate and found a Manta Ray. In the video you'll see a quick frame of the shape in the water as I'm approaching it. I had lifted my head out of the water to locate the shape. Then you'll see the manta traveling along as I'm swimming beside it. I needed to get slightly in front so I could see it's mouth. It turned right to me so I got a great view! Mantas are filter feeders so no worries as the large

mouth comes into view!
I did see JoJo later in the day and had a nice swim with him. I will catch you up on the dolphins shortly.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mother and Calf Humpback

Hi All,
It seems there are whales every where right now. If you want to snorkel with them the trick is to find a mother and calf. We got very lucky yesterday and found a mother and calf. The calf looked very small maybe just born. Calves are 10 to 12 feet when they are born. When you look at the video keep that in mind! That will give you an idea how massive mom is.
John got in the water first and had the mother come take a look at him but the water was murky so he wasn't able to get any footage. I got in later and they were right  beside the boat. I had to back up a little so as not to disturb them.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Julia Harasses Nurse Sharks

Hi All,
Yesterday we got to again witness male whales chasing a female. Maybe it was the same pod chasing another female?? However I promised dolphins so here's what happened the other day! I got in the water with Frisky who was right at the boat. I followed him to where his mother was. As I approached I saw her swimming really fast around a dark shape. As I got closer I saw her harassing three nurse sharks! She seemed more intent on the largest one. I got some footage which shows the battle and Frisky swimming around keeping a safe distance from the activity. At the end you'll see Julia and Frisky swimming off leaving the sharks.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Humpback Males Pursue Female

Hi All,
We had quite a day between dolphins, sharks, and whales.  I will get to the dolphins and sharks at a later date.
I'm not sure why anyone would go to Gran Turk or Salt Cay to see whales when there are so many coming through right here! We saw seven today and heard many other reports of other sightings as well. Our most exciting group had one female and two to three males chasing after her. I am speculating on this but it sure looked like males competing for a female. At all times there were either two or three whales chasing after one slightly smaller whale that kept breaching, tail slapping or pec waving. The fourth whale would show up from another direction and join in the chase. He would then leave for a while and return or perhaps it was another whale but I would guess it was the same one. At times they were making large circles following close behind each other. At other times they were bumping into each other (more like crashing) . They acted like a pod of Rowdies (name given to males who travel in pods fighting for breeding rights). There was however the one smaller whale that they were clearly chasing. I have no idea how she had the energy to keep breaching and tail slapping. We were with them for over four hours and they were still chasing her when we had to return to the marina before the sun went down. Apparently no one has ever actually seen Humpbacks mate I wonder if we had stayed to the end if we could have witnessed it.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Baby Sitting Duties

Hi All,
I felt this week that either I earned Julia's trust or Frisky is a little older. I think that feeling was confirmed yesterday when she left me with Frisky for quite sometime. In the video you can see him whizzing around. The water wasn't very clear but you'll get the idea!
When we first found them Big Blue came up to watch. I included a picture of Philip the owner waving. Big Blue is very respectful of the whales and dolphins. Philip's outfit is very knowledgible of all the creatures of the sea.
After leaving the dolphins we motored past the reef and found one humpback. We then saw a huge breach quite far from where we were hanging with the first whale. We headed out at breakneck pace which we can now do from Spy Hop!! By the time we found the whale who by this time had settled down, there was a nasty rain storm heading our way. Even with our nifty red bimini top, we decided to head back into the sun.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Those Sexy Dolphins

Hi All,
I know you all want to know how JoJo is first. We found him swimming with the sail boat Ataberya which was off the beach along Pine Cay. he was intent on scratching on their anchor line. He eventually started back toward Leeward and traveled slowly so I could join him. Later he wanted a ride behind our new boat that we have decided to call Spy Hop. Spy Hop is the phrase that describes dolphins and whales poking their heads out of the water to see what's going on above the water. We see it all the time, especially when the calves want to see where we are  or maybe to see what we look like!!
JoJo wanted to go to the beach along Grace Bay to fish. He likes to eat Sand Tile fish which are very small fish that are bottom dwellers. They dig holes in the sand to make their burrows. I saw JoJo grab one that hadn't gotten down his burrow in time! However if they are in their burrows JoJo can echolocate them and plunge his rostrum down their burrow to find them. It must take a lot of these little fish to satisfy this seven foot dolphin!
Two days ago when I was with all four dolphins I caught on film some very interesting behavior that I had only read about.
Dolphins are very sexually orientated. They will have sex with either gender and at pretty much any age. I had read that mothers stimulate their calves at a very young age. Now I have this on the video!! You will see Frisky is upside down and Julia has her rostrum on the slit where his male parts are stored. You will also see that Raggedy Ann is right beside them showing a lot of interest.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Come along JoJo is taking me to the Pod

Hi All,
There were so many great things that happened yesterday, I don't know where to begin! I tried out a new camera that is embedded in my mask. So you can see what I see.
I have said time and time again that JoJo brings me to his family. Now in this clip you can actually see how it works! First, you will see JoJo coming to get me. As he gets to me, he turns back and I follow him. After traveling a little way, the pod comes into sight. You can see Raggedy Ann's fluke with the left side - ragged! Frisky is traveling where calves do; staying under their mom to get the maximum drag affect. Julia has that little bump on her right side. It looks like a puncture of some sort (it's hard to see). You will see that as I get to the other dolphins, JoJo goes off to the side. He's on my right a little way off. Later, he comes up on my left as we move off.
Yesterday, they seemed to want me right with them - a lot. When the tour boats came they let me stay with them unless the captains put people in the water. Then they sped up and moved away. I have known JoJo for 15 years and Raggedy Ann for 4 years and have earned their trust. I guess people think it's a "swim with the dolphins" program! However, these are wild dolphins. I'm hoping that when Kristen my daughter comes, they will let her swim with them because JoJo knows and likes her.
I have noticed over the years that the calves  seem to get to a certain age and become more interactive with me (except Lemon Lips who was always interactive!!)  Apparently Frisky is there!! He was a little wild man yesterday.  At one point, he was swimming all over at speed, up and down and very close to me. I was getting worried that maybe it was too close and he was going to run into me. At that moment, JoJo appeared. I think he too thought things were getting a little rough. JoJo has come to my aid (rescue!) quite a few times. I think of him as my friend and guardian.
The first time I had gotten in with a pod of dolphins who were fishing and JoJo came right up to greet me then went off to fish. Later, a dolphin came right at me along the surface with a menacing look! John told me he was slapping his tail on the water. I was staying still, hoping he'd see I wasn't a threat. JoJo appeared from no where and swam right under me toward the dolphin. The dolphin vanished. Anther time, I was swimming with JoJo and a pod where I knew most everyone. There was however, a dolphin I didn't know that kept coming to look at me. I felt I should have known him or something. In any case, he was quite persistent and again JoJo who, as usual was traveling behind me, came right up to the dolphin. I think he was just making sure all was going ok.
Now back to Frisky! As I mentioned he was having quite a fun filled day so I put in a video of him zooming around and playing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shark Encounter With Dolphins

Hi All,
We have just returned from a whirlwind trip home with lots to do in order to spend the whole month of February here in Turks and Caicos.
John and I have been contemplating a bigger boat for sometime as our adventures take us over the reef and out in rough seas. As luck would have it, an owner here at Ocean Club was thinking about selling their Whaler and graciously let us take it for a spin. My biggest concern of course, would JoJo like this boat?? Would JoJo figure out I'm on it????
Don, the boat owner, John and I head out for our test drive. Just as we leave Leeward Cut we see a boat behaving in a dolphin sighting way, turning around, going slowly, people looking over the railing. We motor right over and find JoJo slightly ahead of them. I get in but fairly far away and he doesn't see me. After getting back in the boat, we go over, JoJo gets in our wake and we motor off  with him following. A short time later, he branches off and we find him out by the reef. I get in and he comes right up then continues along at a good clip. I get back in the boat and am quite sure he's looking for another dolphin, because he is swinging his head back and forth which means he's echolocating. We followed him along and a mother and calf show up! I get in and as I figured it was Julia and Frisky. Julia has sustained a new puncture wound which looks like a nip. Frisky looks just fine. I get a little interaction then they speed up.  I get back in the boat and say I think they will meet up with Raggedy Ann. As I predicted, a few minutes later she shows up near the cut at Leeward. We see JoJo and her together. This is the time to get in! I have some nice interaction with all of them. I get to see Raggedy Ann being a good aunt to Frisky. They are very affectionate. Lots of touching and rolling into each other. A tour boat comes up and JoJo starts following me with all the other dolphins right behind! Then more and more tour boats come along until it's a zoo and I loose sight of all the dolphins and fear I'll get run over. The boat captains don't realize it's me because they are used to me being with Catch Ride! Some of the captains put swimmers in the water but the dolphins have moved off.
We decide to test drive Don's boat across the reef and head toward a cut. Yes, a bigger boat is dryer and less bouncy in rougher water! (and yes, probably safer :))
We come in from across the reef at Beaches and travel down the coast back toward Leeward. I'm thinking we may meet up with the dolphins because  they were traveling this direction. As we get to Leeward and are about to bring Don back to the marina, we see lots of dorsals. The best part is there were no tour boats in sight!!! I get in and am having a nice time with first JoJo and Raggedy Ann then Julia and Frisky. The groups are ever changing. Suddenly, they all came together in a line with the bigger dolphins on the outside and start swimming very close together. I was wondering what was going on until I saw swimming right under them a large Black Tip Shark. He was making his way through Leeward Channel toward the reef.
I have seen how dolphins behave with Nurse Sharks but never before with a Black Tip. They either heckle Nurse sharks or ignore them. In the past, JoJo has shown me Nurse sharks. I have seen Nurse sharks swim near calves with no reaction from their Moms.
Great day all in all, got to see new behavior and found out JoJo is fine with the new boat!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Video from Whales and Dolphins

This is the calf my Go pro makes him look miles away he wasn't!! So fun!
These dolphins were spotted but it doesn't look that way from video. They were diving deep on my other side and on the other side of the boat there were so many the footage doesn't do it justice. You can however see how they didn't mind swimming right beside me!

Dolphins and Whales oh My

Hi All,
I really didn't think we would go out today due to the strong winds. However, the wind was coming from the East which is a good thing for us! It actually flattens the waves on the North West side of the Island.
As we were motoring around Grace Bay, we heard on our radio that some of the boats (Big Blue) were seeing whales. We motored to the cut at Parrot Cay and went out. After awhile, I saw a dorsal, then we looked and looked until we saw a spout. It appeared to be an older whale traveling alone. His dorsal appeared to have a lot of wear and tear. We followed along for awhile then started to head in. As we were turning, I saw a HUGE breach and then another. They were fairly far out. We hustled along and as we pulled up, we found a mother and calf. The calf was frolicking around and for sure was the one breaching. We then started to see lots of activity in the water. At first I didn't know what it was. It looked like a large fish feeding frenzy!! As we got closer, I realized there were many, many dolphins all surfacing around the whales and darting around everywhere.  There were so many dolphins it was amazing!! Even more than the other day!! I got in and found spotted dolphins who were very friendly. They let me swim right beside them. They were all over the place. I went back to the boat to get a camera knowing they could be gone in an instant. As I did, they started playing with the baby whale. I have always wanted to see this!! Actually John got to see more because I got back in the water and took footage of the dolphins. Eventually, I went around where John said the mother and calf were. I saw them in front of me and they sunk way down into the deep blue. All I could see was their pecs which are white. After awhile the calf decided I was interesting and came to take a look! At that point I didn't see the mom which was disconcerting! I have found however in the cetacean world at least from my experience, that moms seem to be okay with my swimming with their kids.
If that weren't enough we saw two more really big Humpbacks on our way back before we crossed over the reef. My guess is that they were two males. That made a total of five Humpback whales  for the day! Now this really is my last blog for at least a week!!

The Humpbacks are Here

Hi All,
As some of you may know this is the time of year the Humpbacks travel to the Caribbean to mate and have their calves. They are heading to three banks in the Caribbean where they all congregate. Turks and Caicos is on the way there. We see them come by any time from late Dec through March. Some people seem to think you see more from Gran Turk or Salt Cay but we have already seen three and heard of people on other boats seeing more.
Yesterday, we had a bit of a rough start when our engine alarm went off and the engine promptly shut down. Luckily, we weren't across the reef!! We were in the channel heading out from the marina and were able to crawl back. Only in the Caribbean could you find a great mechanic who would come out on a Sunday and fix your engine! Jill, who has taken over Mike's water sport program at Ocean Club so nicely came to our aid and gave me Elain's number and he fixed the problem. By this time it was late afternoon so, we took a quick look around in case JoJo was in the area. We then decided to head out past the reef. The water was very smooth with big rollers spaced way apart making it easy to see whales!! As I was scanning the water, I saw a nose sticking out! Then we saw a spout. He went down then came up right beside our boat!! He then moved off and we saw one more spout as he traveled down the coast on his way to the Silver Bank.
This morning as predicted is very windy which means we will probably bring our boat back to Caicos Marina where it will stay for the next week while we are home taking care of business.