Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Great Send Off

Hi All,
The past few days we either didn't see JoJo or I didn't have much interaction with him when I did. The last time we saw, JoJo he was with another dolphin and didn't seem to want me with them. My theory is that it was RA and she was depressed from loosing her calf and needed cheering up from JoJo without a slow human tagging along.
Today, JoJo came right over to the boat to bring me to the others. I had a few short swims because another boat kept putting swimmers in the water. Every time they did, the dolphins sped up and I'd loose them. Whizzer still got in a few "drive-bys". As we made our way toward Pine Cay, the boats finally stopped. As we got opposite The Meridian Club which is at the end of the island, I got in again. The water was very murky as it always is there. I got a long swim with all four dolphins. Our usual formation is Ra, Bo with Whizzer swimming  under her belly and me by her side. JoJo usually is behind or off to the side. JoJo occasionally helped redirect me if I couldn't see where everyone was! I swam with them from The Meridian Club to the beginning of Fort George where the waves got the better of me. It was a great send off.
video https://vimeo.com/150300186

Monday, December 28, 2015

New Dolphin at Leeward'

Hi All,
The wind is still pretty strong here on the island but not too strong to ruin anyone's vacation. It isn't either too strong to prohibit swimming with dolphins! We see a boat behaving like they are with  a dolphin as we approach Leeward. As we pull up we see two dolphins. I get in and JoJo stays around the boat. I swim toward the other dolphin and JoJo comes then heads back to the boat. HMMM is he done swimming with that dolphin or doesn't he care whether I meet that dolphin or not. I continue toward the new dolphin wanting to know who it is. The dolphin is as big as JoJo with some scrap marks before is fluke. These are known as rack marks probably from a shark. I don't think I've ever met him and he doesn't seem to care that I'm watching him. https://vimeo.com/150097442

Once the unfamiliar dolphin moves off I go back to the boat and JoJo. He and I go for a swim heading out toward the reef. We encounter a big ray as you'll see in the video. The camera battery warning signal goes off indicating he battery is dying. Notice JoJo looking back at the noise.
For some reason the internet is not working to up load this video so I will have to send the JoJo and Ray video once it cooperates! https://vimeo.com/150205538

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Get Together

Hi All,
I've been commenting that we haven't seen any other dolphins since we have been down here except for the lone dolphin on the South Side. Usually we either see a lone dolphin around Pine Cay or get lucky and see a get together of JoJo's family. This is to say nothing of not having seen Whizzer for quite a few days.
We head out of leeward with spectacular sunshine glistening off the wavy water. There has been more rain then we have ever seen in December and we are thrilled to have brilliant sun over head.
We're off on our usual pattern looking for dorsals. Just as we arrive opposite the Meridian Club on Pine Cay, I see a lone dorsal. It's JoJo's distinctive dorsal with a little notch out of it. He seems interested in taking a ride and gets behind our boat. We take him all the way to Parrot Cay where he's wanted to go before. I get in the water there but he clearly wants a ride back toward Pine Cay. In the video you will see how clear the water is and how he followed me for a short distance.
As we arrive once again opposite Meridian Club on Pine Cay, we see two boats acting as we call it, "dolphin like". This means moving around slowly with people looking in the water. JoJo branches off and we start seeing three dolphins cavorting! This seems to be a happy greeting as we see dolphins hurtling through the air. Soon, they approach the boat and stay near. They seem to want me to join them. Unfortunately, when I get in the water it is so murky, I can't see any thing under water. I wait until I hear a loud "Pffff" as they surface and swim over. I try to stay with them but it is so murky I can't even see the flippers on my feet. I keep losing track of them but they keep swimming back to me. At times I am wondering where are they and "Pffff " they surface right beside me. It can be a little startling to have three seven foot dolphins pop up beside you with no warning! I recognize Lemon Lips not only because he keeps coming right to me with JoJo but I am able to see his slightly slanting dorsal and the little notch out of his fluke. Lemon Lips is Bo's calf that I met in 2012. He and Whizzer are brothers!! They both like interacting with me!! I can't identify the other dolphin but she's definitely a love interest. There is a lot of sexual activity with intermittent quiet swimming.  JoJo I'm proud to say is clearly joining in on the activities. This leads me to believe he may be the dad of all these calves. The dolphins, having none of the  hangups we humans have, seemed quite content to have me right there as they hold their orgy. At times, I need to back off as they are quite exuberant.
If this wasn't enough, at least three more dolphins show up. Despite my lack of vision under water I hear a distinctive whistle as a shape goes whizzing by!! It's Whizzer! Now, I'm swimming with at least six dolphins . How is that for a Xmas present?!
We had found JoJo at 10am. It's now after three. All the scooter batteries are dead, we have so much footage to go through and I'm happy but beat. Its time to go home. I now know why JoJo was milling around Pine Cay. There was a planned meeting of all these dolphins.
The video will not do justice to the event but you'll get the idea! I'm having a great deal of trouble publishing so I have made two videos hope this works!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

He's back

Hi All,
The wind has come up on Provo making boating a challenge. We hadn't seen JoJo since the 14th and it always makes me anxious not seeing him for a long time.  If I have people come down to meet JoJo, I usually tell them to allow five days and I'm pretty sure we will find him.
We found JoJo swimming in the opposite direction close to the shore near Half Moon Beach on Pine Cay. We turned around to accommodate his desire to go toward Grace Bay. JoJo got behind our boat and stayed there for almost 40 minutes until we got Smith's Reef at the mouth of Turtle Cove. He branched off to fish. Funnily enough the day before John and I had been snorkeling there. As we had returned to the boat after swimming with a big eagle ray and lots of other reef fish, I had been wondering why I don't see the dolphins fish in the reefs more often.  Seems to me it would be like having a buffet! I know they like Bar Jacks and there are plenty of them as well as countless others. We couldn't go into the reef because of the many reef heads close to the surface. We tried to monitor JoJo's location but the wind and waves made it very difficult. Ultimately, we decided to move to the North end of the reef and wait for him. Unfortunately, we never found him again. It was a short visit but I was very glad to see him and know that he seemed to be fine.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Where are They??

Hi all,
I keep hearing people are seeing dolphins but we keep missing them. As always, I need JoJo's help! I however have a clip of Whizzer nibbling on Bo's pec which I thought was interesting. Someone asked me if they teeth. I'm not sure but I'll find out. I have never seen a calf nibble on his mom's pec before but Whizzer seems pretty special! https://vimeo.com/148771815

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A brief Visit from Whizzer

Hi All,
I haven't been able to find JoJo for three days which is always alarming. However yesterday I spotted Whizzer out in front of Beaches. He came right over to the boat and swam around it hoping I'd get in to play. I believe he was with Bo but never got close enough to see whether it was Raggedy Ann or Bo. I got a brief swim with him then it appeared his Mom called him because he rushed off to find her. He came back to the boat a few times but kept rushing back to her. She was traveling quickly and we eventually lost them.  https://vimeo.com/149270226 Please copy and paste to see video.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Scooter Replacement

Hi All,
The first full day on island, it rained all morning and we only got out for a few hours in the afternoon. But, what an amazing few hours they were! I said to John I had more interesting things happen with the dolphins in that one afternoon than most people have in a lifetime. I published a blog about it the past Sunday with the video about Dolphin Love. I figured I didn't think I'd need my usual two water scooters and two cameras so I only took one of each. How wrong I was! I swam with the dolphins for so long I completely exhausted the battery on the scooter and almost killed the batteries in the camera.  ( I also lost a brand new flipper!). When the scooter died, John thought I should try being towed behind the boat to see if I could keep up with the dolphins and to see if they would stay near me. Because my camera is in mask, I have to turn my head to get video of the dolphins that are traveling at my side. This I have to do without having water come in my mask or pushing it off as I'm getting towed through the water. Managed to do it all and the results are below.
The first video is really short showing JoJo looking at me as I start getting pulled through the water. He joined right in beside me.  https://vimeo.com/148930345
The second video shows Whizzer coming up then going off with the others as they travel along to my right. Toward the end, Whizzer came to visit again. At the very end look closely and you will see a nurse shark close to the bottom.  https://vimeo.com/149000574
please copy and paste to see video

Monday, December 14, 2015

Whizzer and his Many Sitters

Hi All,
The sun finally came out. For the first time since we arrived, we weren't racing back to the marina to beat the rain, thunder and lightening, (or not!). With the good weather comes the tour boats. We still got some quality "alone time" with the dolphins in between visits by various boats. One captain who I'd never seen before tried to tell John it wasn't JoJo. Made me laugh!
We found JoJo and Raggedy Ann with Whizzer right outside of Ocean Club. Raggedy Ann was fishing and Whizzer was copying her. She nosed around some seaweed, he nosed around some  seaweed. She checked out some branching coral, he followed suit. They were moving pretty swiftly and I only got the chance to catch up when she dove down to hunt or crater fish. A tour boat came by and I lost sight of everyone. Then JoJo showed up and I got to spend some time with him. He was milling around not really going anywhere but sonaring a lot. I can always tell when he sonars because he swings his head from side to side. I figured he was trying to locate Whizzer and sure enough, Bo and Whizzer showed up. At that point, JoJo and Bo left and I got to hang with Whizzer who kept darting around giving me his signature whistle. (I think I was relegated to baby sitting!) When I made this video clip I didn't put it to music so you could hear his whistle. Every time you see bubbles come out his blow hole he is whistling. When a dolphin gives a signature whistle, (a whistle that is very distinct and one used by that dolphin only) it is said to be their name. Toward the end of the clip, Bo must have called him because he pumps his tail and goes like the wind without returning.
https://vimeo.com/148962445 please cut and paste! JoJo RA and Whizzer
https://vimeo.com/148943082 Whizzer leap please cut and paste
https://vimeo.com/148948836 Whizzer giving signature whistle

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dolphin Love

Hi All,
Now that I have the sad news out of the way, I can share the amazing love these dolphins have for their calves. First, I'm now quite sure Whizzer is Bo's. This video pretty much confirms it. I also saw him nurse from her yesterday. Not only that but her other calf Lemon Lips, also had the yellow tinge on his lips and behaved like a wild man just like Whizzer.
 We had battled thunder storms and lightening all morning and even given up for a few hours. We did take JoJo for a bouncing ride toward Pine Cay which ultimately got us soaked and bounced around before going in. A few hours later, it was still raining a little but we were dying to go out so we went back to the boat. It had rained all the day before and I hadn't seen a dolphin since arriving. Paradise does have it's storms!
We found all four dolphins on Grace Bay. The dolphins seemed glad to have me back. They came right over to the boat as I was racing around getting flippers, mask and scooter ready to go. When I got in, JoJo came right over and brought me to Whizzer who was with Bo and Raggedy Ann who stayed off a short distance. You will see in this video such love for this rambunctious little calf who is snuggling, caressing, bumping on occasion and pec nibbling both Bo and JoJo. There are also moments where he includes me by circling at speed sometimes upside down. Remember Bo has the perfect fluke and JoJo has many scars. My heart did go out for Raggedy Ann who lost her calf. The video may take awhile to load. I just couldn't cut anything. https://vimeo.com/user38911674/review/148760188/9e0b59942d

Friday, December 11, 2015

Sad Confirmation

Hi All,
I am back on Island after a trip home to take care of my horse business. I've had this news since Thanksgiving Day but couldn't face opening up the pictures. I mentioned last summer that the two ladies were both looking very pregnant. When I got here in November, I met Whizzer who I've seen with both moms together and one at a time. I was so hoping to meet the other calf but feared the worst as time went on.
Thanksgiving Day I was invited to a feast at a good friend's house where I met a boat captain from Beaches. We started talking about JoJo and he said JoJo got rough with him when he swam with him. It made him a bit nervous seeing JoJo is 7 feet and so strong. He no longer tries to swim with him. JoJo by the way has never displayed any of this behavior toward me. He then mentioned that he had  seen two dolphins with a dead calf. They were of course the two ladies, Bo and Raggedy Ann. I have read that dolphins will keep their dead calves up on their rostrums (noses) for up to three days with hopes that they will live. It is normal that when a calf is born that the mother or aunt will help it up to get its first breath. I imagine this was a still born calf. He said the bigger dolphin came and rammed the boat when they got close. She was of course trying to keep them away. I imagine that was Raggedy Ann since she's by far the larger of the two dolphins. This truly makes my heart break for the mom who lost her calf. If anyone didn't think animals have empathy, this will certainly change their mind.
I am now trying to figure out whether Whizzer is nursing from both moms or just his. They would both have milk at the same time. I haven't seen him take milk from either so far. He did nuzzle Bo when all three were all together.
I have included some pics of the mom holding her dead calf up on her rostrum and the other lady staying right with her. These photos are courtesy of Rick the boat captain.
On a happier note Jill my good friend said she saw JoJo yesterday. I hope to find him and of course Whizzer today.