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, April 23, 2012

Humpback Dolphins on the South Coast

Today we all woke with a feeling of excitement-it was our first day going out on the boat for the marine expedition. After a quick breakfast we grabbed all of our equipment for a day out on the water. We walked through Mkwiro village to the beach. Cries of ‘jambo’ from waiting school children greeted the start of our day.

All ten of us got onto the research boat and we headed around the northern end of Wasini Island to Lower and Upper Mpunguti Islands, doing a dedicated search for dolphins as we went. Just as we were heading towards Kisite Island dolphins we spotted tourist boats at Lower Mpunguti island so we backtracked.
Tourists watching the dolphins pass by 

As we arrived in the area where the tourist dhows were crowded around we saw dorsal fins sliding gracefully through the water – and the first one spotted was a humpback dolphin! This was only the third spotting of humpback dolphins by GVI in 2012! Humpback dolphins are mostly seen around shallower waters closer to the coast, as is Lower Mpunguti Island, in groups between 2 to 5. 

In our sighting the group consisted of three adults and one calf. Not only were there humpback dolphins, there were also at least five bottlenose dolphins with them! Both species were foraging and resting together. We knew the dolphins were foraging because they were doing peduncle and tail dives and changing direction in the water rapidly. Feeling incredibly excited and lucky, we left them to continue foraging in peace.
Snorkelling off Barden our research boat
Chole Corne- Conservation Intern