Our moments on the ocean are a feast for the senses. The smell of salt, the beautiful animals we are able to see and the wide array sounds that ring through the air…and the water. The guides aren’t the only one talking out at sea; anyone who has met dolphins the water knows that these are not quiet animals.
Dolphins squawk, squeak, crackle, buzz, creak, click and whistle as they communicate and echolocate in the ocean. During this mornings snorkelling trips, the Atlantic spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) approached us wearily in the water, buzzing us with their sonar as they did. The animals kept drifting by our two lovely and very cooperative snorkelers, chatting amongst themselves as if they were all passing comments about us.
Research has shown all kinds of complex communication amongst these animals and has proven that these animals gossip, infer, throw tantrums, scheme and joke with one another. They also introduce themselves by name and call one another using their signature whistles, a sort of acoustic fingerprint. Such complex conversations seem similar to those in human beings but the characteristics show that they are also very different to us in the most remarkable ways.
Dolphins are thought to have a sort of shared existence with their peers, relating to others in their social circles in ways we can’t fathom. Their bio sonar helps in this, granting them a sort of acoustic picture of their surroundings and of the emotions and activities of the creatures around them making them wise, social animals and impeccable hunters.
Atlantic spotted dolphins have become very important in scientists efforts to understand more about the language of dolphins and make this a realistic possibility because of their unique interactive nature. They were seen on all our tours today, leaping and bowriding around our vessels. It simply never gets boring with these dolphins out at sea…but today was also an eventful day in our marina.
A large marker, perhaps one that belonged to a recently sunken fishing boat was found at sea and brought to marine police on shore where it was later detonated. Our guests heard the loud pop of the detonation as we left the marina for our delayed afternoon tour. “It will be a lot quieter out on the ocean” I reassured them. Which is true… unless you dive below the surface to meet some dolphins of course!
By Paula Thake
Sightings of the day
10:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
15:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Loggerhead turtle
09:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins (Snorkeling), Striped dolphins
12:00 Atlantic spotted dolphins
15:30 Atlantic spotted dolphins, Loggerhead turtle