18.09.2017- The same but different
My only tour today was a snorkeling tour in the morning with a group of very cooperative and enthusiastic guests. We were able to find a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins and the boat was maneuvered in such a way, to let the large pod swim past us. Underwater it was clear that the pod was subdivided into smaller groups, each consisting of like-minded animals that are in a similar phase of their lives. The first part of the group contained a few adult individuals with many fast-swimming and confident juvenile animals that approached our guests and the bow of the Stenella. The next group consisted solely of juvenile animals that collectively squeaked at us while actively swimming around the participants before a small group of adult animals cautiously inspected us with their sonar as they swam past. The last part of the pod seemed to be made up of young females, pregnant females and mothers with calves.
This sub-group formation encourages pod fluidity and strengthens internal relationships between individual animals, a process that is vital for both the pod and the survival of each individual animal. This kind of social behavior amongst marine mammals is one we can relate to and, therefore, the tour today allowed our guests to witness these networks first-hand while enjoying a remarkable interaction with our summer dolphins.
by Paula Thake
13:30 Bottlenose dolphins, Pilot whales
17:00 Pilot whales
09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins