Sunday, January 29, 2017

Great Cetacean Day

Hi All, We are down to our last day for January. It is drop dead gorgeous. Hardly any wind, sun's shining brightly and I'm really warm! We are making our usual loop past the resorts. I'm determined to find my friends before we leave. As we pass by The Sands, I see a big splash. Without a doubt that would be Whizzer performing some sort of aerial feat. As I slip in the water, he comes right up to greet me. Can you think of a better way to start the day? He plays around then takes me to Bo. It was too far for my camera to take but there was a ray swimming along the bottom. As Whizzer approached, it took off like a shot pumping it's wings. When Whizzer got to Bo he stopped chasing the ray. Necropsies have shown the barbed tails of rays in dolphin stomachs. I was glad he didn't pursue the ray! A few tour boats came by to see the dolphins but the dolphins didn't take much interest in them. The only one Bo really checked out was "Kitty Katt" the huge catamaran sail boat of Beaches that was on it's mooring. There unfortunately weren't any people to admire her. She was sonaring as she looked at and under it. I wonder if she was looking in that area to find JoJo. JoJo spends a lot of time crater fishing around Beaches and occasionally sleeps around "Kitty Katt". I haven't seen him since the front came through Monday night causing high winds and big waves. As Bo and Whizzer swam off, Whizzer nurses which happens so quickly it's hard to get on film.

Bo and Whizzer who takes the Opportunity To Nurse from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

After losing sight of Bo and Whizzer, we continue the hunt for JoJo. I want to see him before I leave. We go back to Leeward and I notice a few boats to the left of where they snorkel - unusual. John looks out and sees a huge breach! We head out with the speed of light. However unlike the day before where we actually saw two whales breach simultaneously, we only saw a few blows. They usually blow three times then sink down for about twenty minutes which can seem like an eternity! If they aren't doing anything fun like breaching, tail slapping or pec waving, I classify them as boring whales. Of course this guy already breached! Maybe the tour boats drove him off? We only see three blows once we got out there. As we start back toward the reef to continue looking for JoJo, I see a dorsal. We have come upon a big pod of bottlenose dolphins. I get in and a few of them come to check out the human. Once I get back in the boat we give them a bow ride. A few of them really enjoy it. Other than not finding JoJo it has been a spectacular day with stunningly perfect water. We will be back in seven days to continue our cetacean adventures!

Dolphins Checking out Human from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Whizzer Throwing a Piece of Coral over His Head

Hi All, It seems that Whizzer has come up with yet another game. He is taking a piece of coral and hurling it over his head! Not only do dolphins use tools they use toys!

Whizzer throwing a piece of Coral from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Whizzer is A Teenager Oh My

Hi All, I believe I have mentioned that dolphins are heavily into sex starting at a young age. Whizzer is no exception. He has been rubbing himself on JoJo and Lemon Lips for awhile. This is the first time he has displayed to me. Earlier in the day Bo hung vertically in the water and clicked at me then we swam together. I wonder if she was warning me!!This once again reminds me of the late Ken Norris's quote "sex to a dolphin is like a hand shake to a human".

Whizzer A teenager Oh My from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Whizzer Has Quite The day!

Hi All, The water has calmed down enough for us to go out on Grace Bay. We find Bo and Whizzer out in front of Beaches. That area is always very clear no matter how windy it's been. I was able to get so much good video that I really haven't even had time to go through it all! Will get to the rest later and include it. When we pulled up, Whizzer came right over as I got in the water. He porpoised a few times and swam around me. Bo his mom chased him around a lot with her mouth open. She never touches him with her teeth. I'm not sure whether she's warning him not to be such a smart ass which he clearly is or something else! Whizzer seems fascinated with the branching coral. After swimming through it, he looks like he'd like to wear it! He also spent a long time looking and biting some coral. Later he has some coral in his mouth. He raises his head above the water and tosses it backwards over his head grabs it again and keeps repeating it! He is creating many ways to play with all that energy. He was his usual friendly self with me but got more rambunctious where he flicked his fluke almost in my face a few times. I think he was just playing. Bo came up to me and hung vertically and clicked loudly with a new click I hadn't heard before. I'm sure she was trying to communicate something. I wish I knew what. After she did that she let me swim right beside her so I don't think she was telling me to get lost. I'm not sure if it had anything to do with this but soon after Whizzer was feeling very randy. In the past he has rubbed himself against JoJo and Lemon Lips. He came right up to me and displayed but didn't try to rub. Dolphins are very sex oriented from an early age. Dolphins have been known to get sexually aggressive with humans. I hope he doesn't get too aggressive about it with me! They followed a route JoJo takes past Smith Reef and far out into Crystal Bay. We were in sight of the Northwest Point Resort when we lost them as they crossed a reef that we had to travel around. I was in with them around Smith Reef and Whizzer was having fun chasing a fish around a large coral head. They don't follow in the wake like JoJo but they keep coming back to the boat as if to check on us. Maybe they like the company and maybe they just hope I'll get in again!

Bo and Whizzer a mother and calf bottlenose dolphin playing with branching coral from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

South Side Dolphins

Hi All, As predicted a front came threw in a fury of high winds and big waves. Also, predicted that it would be gone by Wednesday AM. All came true. The water on the North side is all riled up but there's hope that the South side will be nice. A quick call to our friends Ted and Suz that have a house with a spectacular view of the South side and they confirm, its flat. We turn right out of the marina John cranks up the engine to get on a plain and we fly out past the wreck. The water in some places is only one foot deep at low tide and the only way not to get stuck is to fly! We decide on going to French Cay. The unbelievably flat water stretches on all sides. We travel for miles and are soon out of sight of land. As the sunlight hits the water it twinkles in every direction. I'm thinking we are in heaven on earth. There are some big sailing vessels taking advantage of the calm waters. We strain our eyes to see a tiny mound on the horizon. As the mound grows and turns into an island, we see many birds circling. French Cay is a bird sanctuary where pelagic birds come to have their babies. Once past French Cay, we motor out past the wall where the deep dark blue water surrounds the Caicos Islands. We drop the hydrophone in hoping to hear some whale activity. No spouts, no groans. John decides to snorkel on the reef surrounding the island. I stay on Spy Hop watching the brown Noddys swoop down searching for prey along the water. There are some frightening radio transmissions that start coming across our hand held radio. Apparently there is a fishing boat that is taking on water near North West Point. There is discussion about bilge pumps and ways to stay afloat until someone can get there. Then a truly awful one comes across. The Coast Guard helicopter it seems is spotting bodies in the water. Apparently there was a sloop with Haitians trying to sneak into Turks and Caicos that over turned yesterday in the really bad seas. Yikes here I am sitting on Spy Hop with the water looking like heaven on earth hearing this dreadful news. Never underestimate the sea's ability to change. Once John's done snorkeling, we take one last look for whales then start heading back. I see dorsals! There are three dolphins. We find them on the bank where the water is shallow but the water is murky and visibility is still terrible from the front yesterday. I get in and they swim up to check me out but when they dive they totally disappear from view. Once back on the boat I notice a new and distinctive dorsal has shown up. Now there are four. We sit in our little spot in heaven watching the dolphins as best we can. The only sound is the "kwok" "kwok" of the brown Noddys over head and the "Pffff" as the dolphins surface near the boat. I'm not sure why but dolphins seem to be drawn to boats. They sink down again then appear announcing themselves with the pfffs. Its time to head back across this beautiful flat, twinkly, blue water. On our way I see another dorsal and John notices his rostrum is a bit deformed. I want a better view but this dolphins is doing some speed fishing! There's no catching up to him! Its getting late and we need to head back to the marina before it gets dark. Away we go!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Whizzer and The Pod

Hi All, The winds are changing around to the Southwest. Apparently there is some weather moving in. After a quick look past the reef for any spouts we head past the resorts. I'm thinking JoJo may want a ride if he's back by himself. There is no sign of him on Grace Bay and it's clouding up. Per usual we decide on a trip to our favorite dining area in the channel between Dellis Cay and Fort George Cay. I like to watch the pair of osprey that soar over head looking for fish. They usually land on a corner of one of the abandoned buildings. They have made a perch over looking the water at the very corner edge of roof. This is an abandoned building project. Rumor has it that the company started building a huge complex with spectacular views of the ocean. A number units were units on spec then someone took the money and ran! It was rumored that Michael Douglass and Katherine Zeta Jones bought one. The ospreys now have the run of the island. The wind is continuing to rise, clouds are moving in and we are both feeling a little cold. We're thinking maybe an early day is a good thing. We head out and back down the gorgeous coast of Pine Cay with its long expanse of white beaches beckoning. I seriously hardly ever take my eyes off the water but the beach is amazing with a few casuarina trees. As I'm watching the beautiful blue water thinking about all the things I can get done at the condo, I see a dorsal. As we approach the dorsal turns into two and they are heading our way! I slip in. The visibility is next to zero. I wait looking around above the water. Whizzer greets me by circling at speed then darts off. I'm once again looking above the water hoping to see a dorsal. Pretty soon I see four dorsals surface right near me and I hear the pfffs all around me as they exhale then draw in fresh air. This is my favorite sound in the world. They sink down and I'm alone again watching for dorsals. Not for long. Whizzer comes by showing off his many tail slaps and spy hops. The dolphins are hardly traveling anywhere. They just keep coming up near me. I have the occasional collision because I can't see where they are. Bo, JoJo and Lemon Lips are so serene as they swim slowly along they hardly seem to notice as Whizzer darts all around them. He rubs into them occasionally opens his mouth and brushes them. Then tail slaps in their faces. Their patience and serenity is admirable. JoJo and Lemon Lips occasionally come close. I think they like it when Whizzer plays with me and gives them a break! I hate leaving them but I'm getting cold and tired. As I climb back in Spy Hop I watch them slowly making their way toward the reef past Pine Cay.

Whizzer and The Pod from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Monday, January 23, 2017

I Love The Dolphins and The Dolphins Love ME

Hi all, This is the day I dream of. We have some friends on board who really want to see JoJo. The sun light is sparkling on the beautiful turquoise water, the ospreys are circling over the water - All the signs are looking good for a great day. We hear from a captain that there are whales outside of Leeward. We are on it! We find whales and dolphins!! The whales are surfacing and diving and the water is much murkier than I would have guessed. We aren't able to find them underwater so we decide to find the dolphins. There are six bottlenose dolphins and I get in but again it's really hard to see them. At one moment they all come toward me then sink down into the murky depths. We decide to leave the whales and dolphins to look for the dolphins that are inside the reef. After going up and down the coast a few times I suggest one more trip up to Pine Cay. A boat has slowed down right outside the Meridian Club. They signal that there are four dolphins:) I can't wait to climb in wondering who besides Bo and Whizzer is there! JoJo comes right up followed by Whizzer(my boys!) Bo and Lemon Lips aren't far behind! I'm beyond happy to see them all. They appear to feel the same way as they include me in their pod formation. Every now and again Whizzer comes up to play. He whirls around sometimes upside down, sometimes lifting his head way out of the water. JoJo plays a lot of flipper footsie with Whizzer. I have explained to our friends that if JoJo is alone they can swim with him all they want but if the others are there, they shouldn't get in. Some other boats are coming up. The boats tried letting people in the water. Every time they do, the dolphins swim away, just out of their sight. They always come for me if I got left behind. I have been swimming with JoJo for 18 years and Bo and her calves for almost as long. They totally trust me and want me to join them. I have earned it if I do say so! I got to swim with them until I ran out of energy. They hovered around when I got out then slowly went on their way. I am the luckiest person alive! In the first video JoJo comes up then Whizzer. The water is murky and its all a bit confusing as they all come around to greet me. We settle down in more structure to our formation (except Whizzer!) Bo is usually farthest away. JoJo has the cut on his melon(head). Lemon Lips has slight snip out of the right side his fluke and throws up some unwanted fish! I'm in between JoJo and Lemon Lips most of the time. There is a lot of flipper footsie.

I Love The Dolphins and The Dolphins Love ME from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

In the second video Whizzer is swimming in front of me and I don't see JoJo who is right behind me. I stop short and JoJo almost collides with me then looks at me like "A little warning please". Whizzer then shows off for me and the crowd. I'm giggling because he cracks me up!

Whizzer Showing Off from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

More JoJo Taxi Service!

Hi All, Another great day with just a little more wind. We have some good friends out with us one of which has never met JoJo. He comes to our boat on our first pass by Leeward. JoJo wants to go past Pine Cay so we bring him alerting Sail Provo's Captain Rock that we have JoJo with us. Rock is ever helpful in our quest to find dolphins and we try to return the favor. As we get to Pine Cay, it's about time for lunch so, we turn into the channel between Fort George Cay and Dellis Cay our usual dining area and drop anchor. JoJo branches off before we get to the channel. I think he may be after lunch also and figure we can pick him up on our way back. After lunch sure enough he's waiting not far down the coast from where he branched off. He swims to Spy Hop flips over and we glide over him. He's now in our wake again as we make our way back down the coast. I want our guest to have a chance to swim with him so we slow down and drop anchor. JoJo swims slowly around the boat after he scratches for awhile on the anchor line. He goes into sleep mode as he circles the boat. Dolphins can rest half their brain while the other half is telling him to breath and watching out for predators. Dolphins are voluntary breathes unlike us. They need to be awake to decide when to breath where we can sleep and breath without thinking about it. This makes us involuntary breathers. Once his snooze is over, he wants to continue. We pull the anchor and pick him up in our wake. It's now time for our guests to get back to the marina. We turn into Leeward and JoJo follows us all the way into Blue Haven Marina. He swims around while they are climbing out then plays a little with a jet ski (whose passengers were sure they saw a shark:))Soon he gets back in the wake and we pull out of the marina. We take him down toward Beaches. At this point, it's getting late and we are trying to find a way for him to leave us so we aren't leaving him! I see a sail boat that looks like one he might want to visit. We drive close by and he goes right over. I tell the people we are delivering a dolphin! The plan worked and we can go check for whales without feeling quilty for leaving him! We don't see any whales but we can again can hear them with our hydrophone!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

JoJo Taxi Service

Hi All, The good news is I was able to publish the video of Bo fishing all in clear water! Go back to yesterday's blog to see it! We brought JoJo from Grace Point to the end of Pine Cay then he branched and we decided to use our hydrophone to see if they were any whales around. We motored outside the reef and dropped the hydrophone deep into the water. We did faintly hear a low moan which was a whale no doubt but very far away! We will keep checking. />

All Is right With The World!

Hi All, The weather's glorious; the waters flat, our motor is working BUT better yet JoJo,Bo and Whizzer are swimming together again! After a trip past the resorts, we hear over the radio that JoJo is at Leeward. When we get back there we find three dolphins all happily swimming together. Because of the strong winds from the last week, the water is all murky. I slip in and get a great greeting. Bo and Whizzer circle me at speed three times. JoJo comes up to greet me then falls in behind me just like nothing ever happened. It makes me happy to see him swimming with them again.

JoJo Is Back With Bo and Whizzer from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Whizzer Having FUN from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

They eventually take me from Leeward almost to the reef in front of Ocean Club. The water gets much clearer near the reef. "Sea Dancer" motors up and JoJo stops to scratch on their anchor line and give their passengers the thrill of swimming near a seven foot wild bottlenose dolphin. I follow Bo and Whizzer in the crystal clear water. Bo is now in fishing mode and goes after a small Bar Jack. You will be able to watch her in the video. Look carefully! She and Whizzer then swim off along the bottom sideways. This indicates serious fishing and I can't keep up. We circle back around and JoJo has now tired of scratching and wants a ride. We bring him into Crystal Bay. Then he wants to go to the end of Pine Cay. Along the way, we stop to let him visit a few tour boats. I'm sure he's almost as happy as we are to have Spy Hop back in action!

Bo Goes Fishing With Whizzer from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The part is Here!

Hi All, The Shipyard is putting our motor back together and we should on the sea by tomorrow am. The weather is better and hopefully the dolphins will be waiting!

Monday, January 16, 2017

More Onshore

Hi All, As you can imagine I'm going nuts without my boat! I hope the part gets flown in today but being in the Caribbean WHO KNOWS! Yesterday we went to the far end of the island,Northwest Point and found a beautiful beach.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

On Shore

Hi All, I'm so sorry to report that our motor is being fixed at the shipyard and we can't go out until the part comes from the States! Needless to say I'm going nuts knowing my dolphin friends are out there hopefully missing me! I'm including this video of a pretty rainbow that I didn't include before!

VID00001 from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

With any luck the part will come in just as the weather improves at the beginning of the week. Jay