Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Friday, January 23, 2009

Olga Rides the Waves at Wasini Island

Olga Bloemen has joined us on the expedition here in Kenya for 7 weeks, coming from the Netherlands. She shares the news of our marine research programme with you...

My first week on Wasini Island in Kenya is over already. Myself and six other volunteers began the expedition with marine research. Monday was filled with training activities such as dolphin and turtle identification, data recording procedures, dolphin behaviour and how to use the radio; “Base, base, base, this is squirrel, squirrel, squirrel. Do you copy? Over?" I learned lots but I couldn’t wait for Tuesday as it would be our first trip out on the boat searching for dolphins!!!

My alarm rang at 5am and I took a bucket shower under the stars which was amazing. I then did my morning duties before having breakfast in the banda. At that early hour, a bowl of Weetabix is all my stomach could stand! At 7am we were on the boat crossing the water between Shimoni and Wasini Island, heading for the open water.

We soon spotted a group of bottlenose dolphins that were swimming just a few metres away from the boat. We were also lucky enough to spot a mother with her calf. The watchers scan the sea for hours and then someone spots a fin and the whole boat bursts into energy! How many are there? What is their behavior? All information is recorded on the forms, but as important is to take photographs of the fins. These are used to identify the dolphins using the photo-identification catalogue and then work out how many there are using the mark re-capture programme.

A sighting is cool, but being on watch and on the boat with the wind in my hair is what I enjoy the most. It feels a bit like riding the waves! The snorkeling, searching for turtles and all the tropical fish is also quite incredible… I can’t wait for my next marine week!

Bye for now, Olga