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, May 22, 2009

Karen’s First Day At Sea... With 30 Dolphins

Karen gives us her first experience of wild dolphins with our marine research porgramme:

"I’m one of the new expedition volunteers on my second week in Kenya with GVI, and my first week spent at Mkwiro base, after a week for coastal forest adventures and colobus monkey sightings. Fresh from the rat-race of city life in London I decided to do something different with my time off and expand on my love of conservation. I decided to venture to Africa and found the GVI expedition in Kenya where I get the opportunity to contribute to both research into colobus monkeys and dolphins!

My first week on the marine project, in fact my first day at sea, and no dolphins had been spotted after 5 hours of searching. However we then received a tip-off and headed off to where dolphins had been sighted close by. And not just a couple of dolphins, but a large group, up to 30. For most of us on the boat it was the first time we’d seen dolphins in the wild. We arrived to see male, female, juvenile and calf bottlenose dolphins riding the waves. The juveniles were leaping out of the ocean and breaching, the adults socialising and swimming over each other, even a few dolphins getting frisky!

Braving choppy waters, all of us on board valiantly tried to count the number in the group – very difficult to do when they all look the same and you only get fleeting glimpses at the surface – record the dolphin’s behaviour, and take photographs for ID before heading home. But on our return home the photos revealed that we had been in the company of GVI Kenya's 'hall of fame'; Besty, Sawa, Freshy, Stima and her calf were all identified. A long day, but one we are still talking about."

Bottlenose dolphins 'Besty' and 'Sawa', identified by the notches in their dorsal fins