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

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Week One Draws to a Close...

Week one for GVI's Kenya expedition has come to an end. It's certainly been busy, but packed full of exciting sightings and stories. Megan Morrison, one of the new volunteers, tells of the week as she saw it...

Growing up in the central California desert, I developed a fascination for water. I followed my affinity to Washington State, where low clouds, mist, and the Puget Sound shaped my existence for five years. I have come to know water in many ways. After only one week in Kenya, the unique anthropological and environmental culture of water begins to reveal itself. We experience it in late afternoon salt water runs, thick humidity, dynamic rain storms, and -- most notably -- the Indian Ocean.

Sunset over the Wasini Channel

This Friday marked the end of our first marine session. Each day brings hard work, but also terrific amounts of beauty. Typically, we spend eight hours on the water in our dhow. The day is long and hot. Aided by Shafii – the Captain who helps with marine – we carry out turtle transects and dolphin observation. We have spotted rays, reef sharks, hawksbill and green turtles, barracuda, and bottlenose and humpback dolphins. Often, the dhow startles schools of small, flying fish, which travel out ahead of the boat.

One of our most interesting sightings this week involved a mother bottlenose dolphin and her calf. Using a dead parrot fish, the mother taught her calf to feed. The mother would approach, take the fish in her mouth, and then release it. The calf then tried. Significant amounts of time on the water allow us to witness many different dolphin behaviours.
Kisite Island from our research dhow "Bardan"

Last night, the rains came. After a week in the hot sun and salty showers, we welcomed the fresh water. I look forward to more time in our small corner of the Kenyan coast. With little electricity, a vast range of native species, our proximity to the friendly Mkwiro village, and vast amounts of water, working with GVI provides you with a unique opportunity to push yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.



Sara Mayer said...

how cool that you guys got to see a mother dolphin teaching her calf how to feed! sounds like it's been an amazing first week - look forward to hearing more :)
(say hi to shafi for me!)