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

Monday, May 4, 2009

Witness on the Waters of the Indian Ocean

Megan is volunteering with GVI over the next few months and describes her experiences so far:

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.

Each day brings hard work, but also terrific amounts of beauty. Typically, we spend eight hours on the water in our research boat, a traditional wooden dhow. The day is long and hot. Aided by Shafii the captain, we carry out turtle transects and dolphin surveys. 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 appeared to teach 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.

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 villagers, and vast amounts of water on our doorstep, working with GVI provides you with a unique opportunity to push yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.