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, November 23, 2010

Dolphins in Deep Water!

At this time of year we like to make the most of the calm seas by going out, into deeper waters, east of Wasini island. Last week we tested ourselves by leaving at 5:30am, to see what we could see and witness the sunrise over the ocean.

After a stunning sunrise, we headed east, around five kilometres offshore, where the ocean gets deep. At around 7am we finally encountered what we were out to see, dolphins. They were travelling north slowly when they approached our boat and spent 15 minutes swimming around us, seemingly investigating our vessel, before leaving us.

-- Admiring the sunrise --

This group was interesting for several reasons. Firstly, our team still disagree on the species, some picture appear to suggest they were spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris) and others that they were striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba). Secondly, the group was travelling north, whereas all the dolphins GVI has encountered in deep waters have been travelling south. Thirdly, the behaviour at this time of day was very different to other times, they were not lively at the surface, the group of around 10-12 dolphins were just milling around, possibly having just woken up. This is interesting as all our other offshore sightings have been of dolphins travelling south at speed.

-- This unusual group led to lengthy debate! --

The debate as to the species will continue, as are photos seem to be inconclusive, partially due to the difficult lighting conditions in the early morning. We hope to encounter more dolphins in deep water, to answer are questions and give us more data on behaviours in the early morning. So more early morning are planned for the near future.