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, November 19, 2010

A fun-filled first day on Marine

We were up early on Tuesday morning the plan being to first head into deeper water before cutting back across to Kisite Marine Park and to Transect 9.

No sooner had we left the channel when a small group of bottlenose dolphins were spotted. We made our way over and managed to Mark Recapture them. This is the methodology we use and it means we photograph the dorsal fin of all the dolphins in the group and compare them to other fins we have taken previously to see which dolphins are socialising with each other and there travelling patterns. We were really lucky today as we not only managed to get all of the dolphins on camera but we also got to see some tiny newborns and photograph them as well.

-- Photographing the dolphin group, including newborns --

After observing their behaviour for nearly an hour we resumed our route into deeper water. Suddenly Shafii our captain saw what we had all been hoping for, a large spiralling jump in the distance. Spinner Dolphins! We headed in their direction as quickly as Bardan (our boat) would take us and before we knew it we were surrounded by a group of long snouted spinner dolphins some 70+ individuals strong. With cameras at the ready we began taking as many photos as we could of their impressive and unique spiralling jumps, as well as their dorsal fins for more photo identification. The large group were very sociable and stayed close to the boat jumping and bow riding for well over an hour before we had to end the sighting and head over to Kisite to do our snorkel transect.

-- Impressive spiralling jumps of the Spinner dolphins --

When we reached transect 9 we all jumped in eager for a cooling dip in the crystal clear ocean and set off on the transect. Within 5 minutes we spotted a green turtle and 2 minutes afterwards we saw Transect 9 resident 'Squirt' a large hawksbill turtle who lives on the reef their. By the time we arrived back at base we had recorded an impressive 8 sightings of turtles 3 individual bottlenose dolphin sightings and of course the large and very memorable and rarely seen group of spinner dolphins. All in all an incredible dayon the boat and we have another 4 weeks to look forward to.