Friday, January 26, 2018

The Whales are Coming, The Whales Are Coming!

Hi All, It is supposed to be a great day; a perfect day to go out over the reef and look for whales. We go out Seller's Cut and drop the hydrophone in the water but don't hear anything. After looking for dolphins on the way to Pine Cay, we go out across the reef again. The wind is picking up unfortunately but we venture out anyway. This time when dropping in the hydrophone, we hear lots of, as I call it, "whale chatting". They seem to be in constant communication with each other. This is different than when the males sing. Their songs are more than likely to impress females. All the whales in this ocean sing the same song. Each year they change it a little and all of them know the changes! We didn't see any whales but we know they are here! We come back inside the reef and find JoJo, Snipper and Julia. They are all happy to let me swim with them. I think Snipper is over my playing with his toys! There have been times when I unknowingly have annoyed one of the dolphins. They have let me know they were displeased but they don't hold a grudge. I have learned that they don't want me taking a fish (not that I meant to!)They are fine with me watching them play with marine toys but dont want me to touch their toys! I have had the priveledge to observe so much dolphin behavior and I am so grateful. The same tour boat that always messes things up came by and dropped a bevy of females all screaming and jumping into the water. The dolphins scattered. Snipper and Julia let me stay with them as they hurried off on the other side of our boat. Even JoJo hurried away. If someone wishes to get in the water, a little respect would be appreciated! We went from Leeward to Seven Stars and I got to swim with them most of the way. Many yellow tour boats came by to take a look as we traveled along. They are always very respectful of the dolphins. Occasionally I hear "she's the dolphin trainer"! Let me get this straight! I'm not their trainer. Nor do I feed them or touch them. They are my friends and I love them. They seem to like me too! I am so lucky that I have been accepted into the dolphin community. JoJo and I have been swimming together for 20 years. I do consider him to be a best friend. He has come to my rescue a few times. Many years ago a dolphin was threatening me and JoJo appeared from no where and swam very close under me toward the dolphin. The other dolphin left. There is no doubt in my mind that JoJo told him I was his friend and leave me alone! Today I did a deep (for me) free dive and stayed a little too long. As I swam to the surface gasping JoJo came right up to me. I think he was concerned. Unfortunately, my brand new camera malfunctioned (broke) so the really great footage I thought I was taking of all three dolphins in crystal clear water, didn't come out. I did put a video in from the other day of JoJo (the most handsome dolphin!) who is looking at me then following me which is tricky to film! Later in the evening we met our good friends from home for dinner at Hemmingway's for dinner. Hemmingway's is the restaurant that has bell they ring if you see JoJo! We had a great meal and danced to Quentin Dean, my favorite musician. The really cool part about dinner was a yellow crowned night heron that perched very close to our table and stayed there all night! Apparently he comes every night! That is reason enough to go there for dinner and sit out on the deck!

The Most Handsome Dolphin of All from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dolphin Etiquette

Hi All, Our day started out well, finding all three dolphins coming toward us as we approached Leeward. I swam with everyone. Snipper seemed particularily friendly. I think he's warming up to me. Another boat came along and put swimmers in which as usual changed how they were acting. They headed away. JoJo in particular was really fed up with one persistant swimmer and pumped his tail to make a fast get away! Later, after they came back together, John thought he saw one with a plastic bag in his mouth. I thought I'd better get in quick in case one of them was trying to eat it. As I got in JoJo came up to me and we watched as Snipper was at the bottom with a plastic bag in his mouth. He was playing with it! Draping it over his pec the usual dolphin games! He brought it up by me and I committed the dolphin game faux pas of picking it up. Now I have learned that when the dolphins play games with marine toys they are happy to have me watch however they don't want me to take the toy and play with them. It has been driven home that plastic bags can choke and kill marine animals and I wanted to take it away! They however are way smarter and weren't planning on eating it only playing with it! Apparently this bothered Snipper who gave me the cold shoulder for the rest of the day! I will continue taking all trash out of the water but not if the dolphins are playing with it!

Dolphin Etiquette from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

How to tell!

Hi all, First I have added a page of dolphin behavior which I hope will be informative and interesting for you. You get there by clicking the new button on the home page of my website. Yesterday once the water was clear and the new dolphin turned over so I could see this is what I saw!
If you look closely you will see two mammillary slits one on either side of her urogenital opening.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Amazing day!

Hi All, Today makes up for all the rainy cold days! We head out of Leeward and I ask John to step on it. We are off to Seven Stars to pick up Tricia a friend from home. The last thing I want to happen is to find JoJo before we pick her up because he might not be heading her way! She has met JoJo before and is really hoping to see him again today. Tricia is waiting on the beach, we stop and she gets in. We make our circle past Beaches and as we are heading back by Club Med I see a single dorsal. JoJo comes to the boat then branches off toward Ocean Club then back to Spy Hop. I get in and he follows me all the way to Coral House. John and Trish are yelling something to me and I figure another dolphin has shown up. This dolphin acts just like Whizzer. It is really murky and I think it is Whizzer except he isn't interacting with JoJo. Usually they are stroking each other and staying quite close to one another. In any case whoever it is seems to like me. Like Whizzer he flys around me in circles then porpoises out of the water. JoJo comes to check, I think to make sure things arent getting to out of control. I get in the boat, John takes off with the dolphin riding the bow wave and JoJo in the wake! As we get close to Leeward, I get in again. I am having lots of exciting interaction with this dolphin. I get a closer look and think - hmmm looks like female anatomy! There is also a blemish on the left side under the dorsal. Who is this? Now a bunch of tour boats are coming over. JoJo goes over to entertain one of them and this dolphin keeps playing with me.

And Then there were Three! from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

More tour boats show up and start putting people in the water. JoJo leaves them behind and comes right to me as I head away from them. The other dolphin stays with me as well. We leave the tour boats behind with all their swimmers flailing around wondering what happened to the dolphins. I've been swimming with these dolphins for twenty years and I think they feel I'm one of them. Perhaps some of the tour Captains think it's a "swim with the dolphins" program but, the dolphins don't! Once I get back in Spy Hop we all head toward Pine Cay. They occasionally take a ride in the wake then branch off. JoJo I'm sure is hoping the other dolphin will stay with him in the wake. I'm wondering if maybe we will see other dolphins once we reach Pine Cay. As we approach the Meridian Club at the end of Pine Cay, we see Snipper coming our way. I get in and swim with all three. Snipper is pretty friendly letting me swim with him. I am now cold and pretty pooped from swimming for so long. I head toward Spy Hop and start handing my water scooter to John when he says "look behind you". There's JoJo and Snipper who clearly don't want me to get out! Well, cold or not who can turn down an invitation from their favorite dolphins! Now I'm on my second scooter and my camera's almost out of battery but, how lucky am I!

Don't Leave from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

The water is very clear and I get a good look at the anatomy of the "new" dolphn. Its a she! There was another dolphin with that same blemish around in 2013. I called her Julia and she had a calf I called Frisky. The more I thought about it, the more I realized there was no stroking or flipper footsie with JoJo or Snipper, normal behavior for Whizzer and JoJo. Bo interacts with me but not in this way. It certainly is easier when they have distinctive marks like JoJo and Snipper! Julia has been fishing successfully all along and is still at it as we reeach the upper end of Pine Cay. She takes off after a fish and comes back to check on me. I notice a trunk fish and know she'll want to check it out. She chases it around and comes by me sonaring loudly. I left that in the video, turn up your volume! We have now been with them since 9am and its almost 3pm. Trisha's husband may never let her come out again if we don't get her back!

Julia Chases Trunk Fish from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Bo leaves me To Play with Whizzer

Hi All,
I thought seeing the seas have been to rough to go out that perhaps a look back in the past would be fun!I put together a video of a day where Bo left Whizzer with me while she went off to perhaps fish. At present Whizzer is no longer with Bo his Mom. He now is traveling with Snipper another male and sometimes JoJo. He still interacts with me but not nearly as much as last year. ENJOY

Bo a bottlenose mother leaves her calf Whizzer with me M from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Friday, January 19, 2018

JoJo Travels Alone

Hi All,
We find JoJo by himself visiting a motor boat right past Grace Point. As soon as he he knew we were coming along, he headed right to Spy Hop. He got in our wake and stayed there until we reached Leeward where he peeled off. We couldn't find him and decided to head toward Pine Cay. Apparently we guessed right because as we passed Little Water Cay,he joined us again. This time he stayed in our wake until we reached the end of Pine Cay where I got in and swam with him. I assume he was scouting around to see where the other dolphins were but we didn't see them. Perhaps it was a good thing seeing we decided to head home and just as we arrived back at our condo, the heavens opened up for a good long time and for once we weren't getting soaked!

JoJo travels alone from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Rough Seas with JoJo Whizzer and Snipper

Hi All,
The seas have gotten rough even though the wind isn't particularily strong. I think this system has traveled down from Florida and is bringing the bigger waves. We find the dolpins near Leeward they are entertaining a tour boat. It's almost impossible to find them amongst the waves. When I finally get to them they swim circles around me or maybe I was swimming circles around them! In any case Whizzer spent some of that time on his back! Tour boats kept coming up as we traveled along toward Pine Cay.

Rough seas with JoJo Whizzer and Snipper from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

JoJo, Snipper and Whizzer

Hi All, After listening to the Patriots game in Foxboro where it was 6 degrees, we are so happy to be back on island looking for dorsals in the gorgeous tourquiose water. Don't think for a moment I take it for granted! My brother is on board. He is joining us for a week to get out of the cold. My brother actually named Lemon Lips. He was in our last boat, Catch Ride about 7 years ago when JoJo introduced me to Bo and her then young calf Lemon Lips. I told Bill he had really Yellow Lips and I was starting to call him Yellow Lips when Billy suggested Lemon Lips and it stuck. He is Whizzer's older brother. We have eaten lunch and are motoring around Pine Cay when I see three dorsals. It is very murky making for difficult footage. They seem happy to have me join them but there isn't much interaction. They are on the move. The dolphins seem to like having our boat accompany them as they moved slowly down the coast toward Leeward. I get in and swim with them off and on as they make their way. They check out a few boats but always come back to Spy Hop.

JoJo Whizzer and Snipper from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

The water gets a little clearer as we get close to Leeward and I get in again. JoJo sonars my new camera. I am sure he has seen many, many cameras but this one is a brandy new model and he is still very interested. Whizzer has gone off to fish and Snipper is interacting with JoJo, the first time on the journey from Pine Cay. It was always Whizzer and Snipper staying very close together. Now, with Whizzer fishing, it's JoJo and Snipper interacting with lots of stoking.

JoJo and Snipper from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Quick Visit

Hi All, I was supposed to be home for a short time to take care of business. I however got the flu and had to stay an extra week! I just returned to the island this afternoon. We were able to get off the plane head to the marina and go looking for dolphins. It was getting late in the afternoon when I saw a dorsal aim right for our boat then disappear. We found Whizzer and Snipper fishing at the far end of Pine Cay. Neither of them seemed one bit interested in swimming with me! I'm quite sure one of the dolphins was Whizzer because he caught a fish and tossed it over his head before eating it. This is one of Whizzer's games. It seemed Whizzer was coming toward the boat so I got in. He stayed in one place long enough for me to swim to him but then dove down and chased another fish! I find it interesting that Bo and Whizzer seem to like Snipper's company. I'm eager to see who's with who tomorrow!

Short Visit with Whizzer from Jay Sargent on Vimeo.