Thursday, February 26, 2015

Don't Touch The Dolphin

Hi All,
I have been swimming with JoJo for 15 years. People always ask me if I feed him or touch him. I don't do either we are just good friends, and he trusts me.
Apparently yesterday another snorkeler touched JoJo and he bit him. Now, what part of "don't
touch the dolphin" did he not get?? It is never wise to touch a wild animal.
Because JoJo's wounds are still healing healing, he is very itchy. That is making him want to go to the snorkel boats to scratch on their anchor lines. As he's swimming around between runs up and down the line, he cruises by swimmers. The boat captains all tell their people not to touch him. Some people however apparently just can't resist.
When his gashes were new and he was hanging around the swim lines, he must have felt a sense of security as he was resting. A person swam out feeling JoJo was there because being friendly and touched him. That time he slapped them with his tail.
Please heed the warning Don't Touch JoJo!!!! In his way, he is a very friendly and special dolphin but if he opens his mouth he's warning you to stay back. He will swim near if you are lucky. But he doesn't want you to touch him!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Great Day With JoJo

HI All,
The water is perfect the sky is clear all is good with the world! Once again we find JoJo outside the reef but poof he's gone! Andy, the captain of Blue Sands calls over the radio to see if we know where he is. We tell him he was outside the reef. Andy motors out and JoJo goes to his boat! He brings him back inside the reef and a very large dolphin traffic jam ensues! Eventually I maneuver Spy Hop in position and JoJo gets in our wake as I speed off:) John is in the condo on a conference call (work gets in the way). My plan is to pick up John at Ocean Club (OC) when his call is done. Luckily JoJo was cool heading that way.
We see John waving from the water, swing by and he climbs on. Now we have another predicament. Kristen has a plane to catch and needs to be ready to leave by one. JoJo is now following our boat toward Turtle Cove which is a pretty long way from OC. We are hoping he'll follow us if we turn back because time is tight. JoJo who usually has his own agenda follows us as we turn back! We head right to Ocean Club stop and Kristen drops in the water. JoJo has gone ahead. But he stops, turns and  then goes over to her. What a great send off!!! He then leads her back to the boat! Now she's torn, but has to leave. As she turns towards shore, I get in and start swimming with JoJo. He heads out toward the reef which is really far away. I see a tour boat and dive down hoping they won't see us. It works! We are now way out from shore and John is pulling up the anchor which he dropped hoping to keep JoJo around the boat. JoJo and I spot 4 Hobie cats sailing our way. They were pretty surprised to see JoJo and I swimming along all by ourselves half way to the reef!! They kept swinging back as if to see if they really were seeing a girl and dolphin swimming side by side way out from shore.
As JoJo and I are diving, I see many Sea Biscuits lying on the bottom. They look like big coconuts with the markings of sand dollars. If only I could figure out how to find them again.
John eventually gets the anchor up (it was tangled in an abandoned mooring and rope) and is following along pretty far behind. JoJo and I are almost at the reef and he decides he's gone far enough and starts back to Spy Hop.  John again drops anchor with the hope that our guests can climb in the water to watch the famous JoJo. JoJo stays around long enough for a photo shoot, then heads off toward Turtle Cove. I climb back in Spy Hop and as we pass JoJo he slips into our wake and off we go. We not only go to Turtle Cove but to the end Northwest Point at the end of the island!  JoJo then branches off, checks the area  and waits to turn around. Off we go again to the other end of the island and on to Pine Cay.  He branches off again, this time for some fishing. It is now quite late and we must leave. We get a lovely sunset cruise on the way back to the marina. What a great day, with an amazing dolphin for all of us.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Very Itchy JoJo

Hi All,
The weather's improving and so is the water. Almost back to beautiful, turquoise, flat seas. We are out near Leeward when we see JoJo. We see if he wants to go toward Pine Cay then down Grace Bay but he doesn't want to stay in our wake either direction. He wants to go across the reef!! I have rarely seen him do that in the past few years. One of the boat captains calls us over. JoJo is on their anchor line out past the reef! He is going up and down scratching as my daughter Kristen and I swim over. I hear him whistle as we come up. I wonder if he is a shocked as we are to see each other across the reef!! He takes a side trip with Kristen and I then takes a look at the prop of the tour boat. I think that means he wants to go. We lose sight of him as he moves off.
Hmm, as we are motoring along we get another call this time from Jeremie on the Club Med snorkel boat. He's now itching on their anchor line. His wounds look they are continuing to heal. I think all the scratching means his wounds are healing and just like us they itch.
JoJo follows the snorkel boat back to Club Med then gets in our wake to Pine Cay. He branches off from our wake but once we stop he comes back to Spy Hop. I think he's now swum with Kristen enough that she can swim with him alone. She gets in and he comes right up to her and stays right beside her for a short distance before he goes off on some dolphin business. She's elated of course!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

One Month Following Nasty Gash

Hi All,
It seems the weather is nasty everywhere this winter. Turks is usually beautiful in February. However we are getting front after front of wind and rain. I'm hoping today is the last of the latest front. Since we can't get out on our boat, it's giving me some time to catch up on video.
The day the front arrived amazingly enough, the weatherman had it right and just at 12 noon the winds picked up and the waves started building. We had JoJo with us all that morning. He wanted to tour the whole length of Provo and Pine Cay then back. Luckily, we were right at Leeward Cut as the winds picked up and we left him in the giant waves to return to our marina. He handles the waves a lot better than we do!
The video I'm posting shows his cuts exactly one month from the day he got them. The healing process is amazing. No stitches, no medication just salt water flowing over them which kept them clean and infection free. The video was taken on Feb 15th. The last front was almost done but there were still big waves as you will see at the end.
I hope tomorrow to get out and find my dolphin friends!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Could Raggedy Ann be Pregnant??

Hi All,
The water on the North side has finally calmed down enough to get out front. Today should be a good day for either whale sightings or dolphin sightings. We start motoring up and down Grace Bay with occasional forays through the cuts in the reef to check for spouts. We aren't seeing anything but really enjoying the perfect water which we know won't last due to a nasty front heading our way on Thursday. Just as we decide to go for a snorkel at Smith's Reef, I see two dorsals. My daughter Kristen is hoping it's JoJo so she can have another amazing swim with him. I get in and Bo and Raggedy Ann (RA) come by. Hmmm Raggedy Ann is looking quite wide. Could it be she is pregnant? Is that why Bo is at her side - to help out?? Actually Bo, who is a little smaller than RA looks a bit wider than usual as well. They both had calves at the same time before and maybe this could happen again. I hope so!!  I follow them through a reef. Just like JoJo there's lots of rolling in the finger coral. Bo comes back to look at me and does some fancy acrobatics under me before swimming off to catch up to RA.
We follow them along Grace Bay and past Leeward. By now, the tour boats are on to us and they are stopping to look at the dolphins. I'm lucky I got to swim with them before anyone saw us. The ladies seem to like going to the boats just like JoJo.
The weather's going to turn bad tomorrow and we are hoping to go out early before it hits!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

JoJo Is Very Interactive

Hi All,
The first day after the front came through, I found JoJo not to be very interactive. Perhaps he wanted to visit other boats after there weren't many around due to the water condition. My feeling is he was not happy that we hadn't been out there catering to his travel needs! In any case he made up for it in spades, yesterday. After we found him down by Beaches, he took a ride to the end of Pine Cay. After watching him swim all around the edge of the reef, he came around our boat. That would be the time to get in. He wanted me to lead the way and we swam for a very long time in the direction of Grace Bay. It was so nice not to have one tour boat come by and interrupt our swim. I found he liked it if I went as fast as I could, which still isn't very fast. Eventually he picked up speed and passed me. That's the signal that he wants to get to Grace Bay faster than I can swim. I returned to the boat and JoJo came to the back.
After taking a ride past Grace Point, he let me swim with him all along the reef. This time I asked my daughter if she'd like to join us. (There was no hesitation there!!) He didn't interact with Kristen who stayed behind me. We were out by some pretty big rollers but I knew he wouldn't take us into them. Once he sped up again, we climbed in the boat and drove past him so he could hitch a ride this time back to Pine Cay. I got in and again had a really long swim with JoJo doing some graceful rolling in the sand which is on the first video. Notice all three gashes look very healthy as well as the one under his fluke.
John was following in Spy Hop and JoJo turned back toward the boat. This was Kristen's moment to get in. This time, JoJo took a great interest in Kristen as you can see in the video. She has swum with him before  but only comes for a week each winter and needs to renew their acquaintance.
When we got out Kristen was elated, there is definitely something that happens to you when you swim with a wild dolphin.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

"Don't Touch The Coral" Oops JoJo Didn't get the Memo

Hi All,
Finally we make it out front. JoJo seemed happy to have his taxi service back. We took him up and down the coast with a few boat visits thrown in. His gashes look way better which you can see in the video. We were way down past Turtle Cove when JoJo had a prolonged scratch in the coral!!

South Side Dolphins

Hi All,
It's been very frustrating for the last few days. The wind has died down but there is a system up north creating some monster waves. We have not been able to go on the North side where JoJo usually is. We try again to negotiate the monster waves but decide heading to the South side would be safer.
The change is amazing. The water is as flat as it can be. If one little bug lands on it he creates a ripple. We decide French Cay is the place to go. French Cay is a very small island that has been designated a bird sanctuary. It is clear across the South Bank. On the other side of the island you are outside of the bank and into the deep blue water. There is the possibility of seeing whales.
Now this is the first day my daughter Kristen, has come out and she has always brought us good luck.
As we are traveling past the end of Provo and heading farther out into this beautiful flat sea, I see a dorsal. Then we all see about six dorsals. They are all over cavorting around. I get in and after some hesitation they start to circle me. The water even though flat isn't crystal clear but I got some footage. Kristen climbs in and also gets to meet the most friendly four. After a minor scooter incident, requiring extrication from the motor we get back on course to French Cay.  Safety Tip, don't wear loose clothing while operating a water scooter!! No bikini straps fluttering in the water, they will end up eaten by the scooter!!
We are now out of sight of land hoping our GPS won't fail us.  We start seeing birds circling over head as we spot the small island. Over the island are hundreds of birds circling. We decide to head out past the island and past the wall where it drops off thousands of feet. We motor way out and have our lunch while looking for whales. Kristen spots a blow and we're off! We follow along as two humpbacks make their way leisurely past the island. The we off in the distance we see dorsals and think dolphins. They are frisking about and we see more tails and cetacean cavorting. As we motor over, they all disappear; most un-dolphin like. We go back to the whales then see the dolphins again and they disappear again! We now think they are some sort of small whale perhaps Pilot whales because they are so shy when we get close. I will try to figure that out when I get to shore. Big Blue is a never ending source of info and I will call Phillipe to find out!
Upon arriving home, I go to call Phillipe and see there are lots of messages. I start returning calls to hear there was a calf swimming alone along the swim line in front of flipper ladies' condo. Everyone thought it was in some sort of distress. I'm thinking oh no not again. As soon as I leave Grace Bay something goes wrong! By the time I reached Sheila the mother dolphin had come back to the calf  and they felt all was well. The waves were so big no one could swim out to check on the calf but apparently he was ok. We will go on Grace Bay tomorrow and maybe we will find the mom and calf and of course JoJo!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Hi All,
This is the third, windy cold day and I'm pacing the beach! I realize whining won't get much sympathy with Boston getting a record 92" of snow!
There was some interest in seeing Rex and his girls so I have included Rex who is the bigger iguana with the dinosaur like mane and one of his girls. I also included an Iguana war between two males from a few years back.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sunset Cruise With JoJo

Hi All,
A front has been moving through for the past few days, dumping lots of rain on the islands. We tried going out one day but after bouncing all over on Grace Bay opted for the channels. I had packed a small lunch for the iguanas figuring we might end up there. I added bread sticks to their usual raisin rations. As we approach their beach the male who I've named Rex (tyrannosaurus) came running down (JoJo isn't the only one who knows our boat!) soon the female pops out of the low scrub brush and runs our way. Their short little legs paddle out to the side as they come running. They start gobbling up the raisins as I toss them up on the shore Soon another female who we hadn't seen comes down. This doesn't set well with the first female. She tries to run her off but she lingers on the out skirts hoping I might fling a raison within her reach. I break up the bread sticks to see how they's go over. Rex without hesitation grabs one holding it like a dog with a bone and crunches it up. We end the afternoon with a nice long snorkel. The tide is going out which produces a strong current through the channel. This makes for a strenuous swim away from the boat and a fast easy swim back. The closer you get to the mangroves the more fish you can see darting in and out of the mangrove roots.
The following day we bring out Lucy who has joined us from London. She is a grad student working on acoustics with marine mammals. She is hoping to match up noises with behavior. I'm looking forward to hearing more noises that the dolphins are making. It is grey everywhere with many clouds producing yet more rain! The good part is she needed some time to get set up with her equipment. We eventually come in because it is raining everywhere. However, as soon as we get to the condo the sun comes out (typical) and John and I head right back to the marina. Lucy stays back to fix the calibration of her hydrophone.
We find JoJo almost at the end of Pine Cay. He heads right to our boat and goes directly to the back. It couldn't have been more obvious that he wanted a ride if he'd put his thumb out! It's now about 3 in the afternoon. We head to the end of Pine Cay then past Fort George, Dellis Cay, Parrot Cay and start heading down North Caicos. It has occurred to me that he just wants the company of our boat sort of like traveling along with a big dolphin. As we head along North Caicos, it is very shallow and there are treacherous coral heads just under the surface. The sun is dropping in the sky which will make it very hard to get back due to the glare. Finally John (the voice of reason ) says we must turn back even though we are dying to know if JoJo is touring or has a meeting planned. I always hate to leave him. I prefer he leaves us but I'd rather not spend the night stuck somewhere in the shallow water! We turn around and start picking our way back through the coral heads. I stand on the bow directing as best I can. JoJo turns around as well! He stays right with us. I think my first theory that he feels safe in the company of our boat. So besides using only half the energy to travel, he gets to cruise his watery home with company. He stays with us all the way into the mouth of leeward before branching off. It is now dark as we make our way into the marina.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Gotta See This

Hi All,
JoJo seems to be back to normal between swimming with friends and taking a ride with us from one end of the island to the other and back!
Bev from Pine Cay sent me this wonderful tube of friendship between species and JoJo and Toffee were in it. Toffee lived on Pine Cay years ago and was friends with JoJo. Each day JoJo would come to visit and they would play and swim together.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What A Welcome!!!!

Hi All,
 We sat in the plane waiting to be de-iced as the minutes ticked by. We are now one hour late getting off the ground, soon our next flight will be loading and we are still on the runway in Boston (the wrong runway!) John calls his travel agent who is amazing. By the time we get to NY, our missed plane is on it's way to Turks and we are re-booked on another airline. Valerie from Wayland Travel in MA has saved the day again. Had she not helped, we'd be spending the pm in NY. Who says travel agents are dinosaurs!!!
As we head out of Leeward, I have visions of healthy JoJo, breaching whales and Tropic Birds whirling around my head. Some friends from home are with us. I give them the "you might not see anything talk" as they slather sun tan lotion on their ever so white bodies. They say brilliant sun, twinkling water, 82 degrees how can they go wrong!
JoJo appears in minutes. He swims to our boat, I get in to access his gash and am happy to see it is clean all the fibrin connective tissue (white stuff). His pecs however, have fresh scrapes. I  have no any idea how that could have happened. Getting old isn't easy for any of us!
JoJo visits a few boats then wants to travel past Turtle Cove then back to Pine Cay. As always we, oblige. He branches as we get part way down Pine Cay. As I'm getting in the water John sees another dorsal.  I get into to have Lemon Lips give me the best greeting! He looks at me swims around me then rubs up to JoJo. They are so happy to see each other. There is a lot of activity, I see JoJo stroking Lemon Lips on his melon as Lemon Lips swims along behind him. Suddenly there are more dolphins - not one, but two arrive. I see White Tip. They are all so rambunctious. The water is murky making filming hard. I get in the boat and watch great dolphin play. The fourth dolphin has a distinctive dorsal.  It has a notch out of it like JoJo's but way bigger. I'm going to call this dolphin Jagger. I think I've seen the dorsal before and will now recognize it when I see it again. It seems JoJo and White Tip are pairing up and Lemon Lips and Jagger are doing most of the acrobatics - leaping, swimming upside down, diving and circling. The action is fast and furious!!
We were with JoJo from 8 AM to 2:30 PM. We leave to let JoJo enjoy his friends. Now I feel JoJo is really back to normal. He's with his friends. I don't know what's up with his pecs but he seems perfectly able to behave normally. I hope you enjoy the footage you can really see the difference in the water from video to video.