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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More dolphins spotted at Pta Gruesa

Exciting news from Punta Gruesa! On January 14th 2009 at 2pm, GVI staff and expedition members were lucky enough to spot a pod of bottlenose dolphins on route to one of our dive sites. It was only the second day diving in this phase and the first time in the water for the EM’s. The pod of around 15 dolphins were located north of the pass in the barrier reef making their way south along the coast past the base.

Raphael Zara, Expedition leader and boat captain at the time, positioned Huul Kin (one of GVI’s dive boats) in front of the pod and signaled to everyone to kit up in their snorkeling gear and prepare to enter the water. On the count of three we backward-rolled from the boat and into the blue. A curtain of bubbles and sensation of disorientation quickly dissipated leaving instead an amazing feeling that perhaps no other animal can generate so uniformly. To see wild dolphins while on a boat is always a thrill but to have the opportunity to encounter them in the water is an experience that does not translate readily into words.

The first thing you notice is the sounds they make, as they produce a series of clicks and squeaks eluding to a complex form of communication well beyond our comprehension. The second is the grace with which they move through the water. They Twist and turn effortlessly, disappearing from view with the slightest flick of their powerful tails.

We were lucky enough to spend nearly 15 minutes with the pod as it continued its journey south. Many individuals appeared inquisitive, turning to look you directly in the eyes before rejoining the rest of its companions. Eventually we were unable to keep up and left them to continue on their journey. It was a truly amazing experience. To be in the water with such magnificent creatures is a privilege that few are lucky enough to ever have.

What a fantastic way to start the New Year and the new phase! Who knows what the coming weeks will bring!