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

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Turtles and Dolphins and Sharks, Oh My!!

--Bottlenose Dolphin next to our boat--

We had three new volunteers on the boat today, I wanted to show them a good time and get us much time on the sea as possible, but we also did not know how these guys would react to a whole day on the boat. As survey leader you decide the route, transects we snorkel, departure and return time and basically tell everyone (except the captain Shafii) what to do. After an earlier than usual start we saw a green turtle on the surface in Funzi bay, then some birds diving and hunting a school of tuna- the surface looked like a boiling pan of water.

--Bottlenose Dolphin Spy Hopping--

A bottlenose dolphin was then spotted just a head, this then turned into a dozen, and soon our boat was surrounded by at least 50, calves, juveniles and adults. We watched them socializing, mating, playing, spy hopping, tail slapping, beaching, chasing tuna - it was a social gathering of several sub-groups. We stayed with the dolphins for well over an hour to observe them and collect data, and over 400 photos! The dolphins were indifferent to our presence and even enjoyed surfing and bow riding around our boat. Over the previous two weeks we have had many dolphin encounters but none as long or as large as this with so many behaviours visible.
We saw a couple of lone bottlenose dolphins foraging for food, as we travelled to Kisite, an island in the Marine Protected Area, to snorkel transect nine. To top-off the day we swam with two green and two hawksbill turtles, some white tip reef sharks and lots of cool fish. No seasickness, dehydration, sunburn or volunteers over board, perfect day!

--White-Tip Reef Shark--