Monday, August 15, 2011
Here is the timetable we follow each day. >
Today,is our last day in the Amvrakikos Gulf, and once again we are going out on the boat to try to find the Bottlenose dolphines. Today we followed C transect, on our way there we saw a dead turtle. We all wanted to know what it had died of and Joan said he thought it had died of old age. Sho, who is training to be a vet, wanted to take it back to base to disect it. We went back to our look-out section on the boat to continue spotting, as we traveled on we saw the dolphines. There were about 8 within our focal group so we followed them making observations at all time about the conditions and continued to look to see if any more dolphines had come to join us.
A dolphine was bow riding - right beside me!
Below is Kimberley, Sho and myself - looking out for dolphines.
Dolphines on the horizon
Joan has been so very patient teaching us all about this wonderful project, at the same time he also is training Ioannis so he will be able to run a similar project in the future. When you step on the boat Joan becomes so very focused calling out instructions when the dolphines are around us.
This afternoon we will be cropping the photos that Joan and Ioannis have taken this morning - then before dinner at 9pm we will have time to pack.
I will complete my blog after I get back to the UK - Joan says he will also send us some more photos that he has taken of our week here and also links to research further on the Bottlenose Dolphines.
This has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I am so grateful to both The Jane Goodall Foundation and The Earthwatch Institute for the opportunity to take part in this project - thank you
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Wow, today it is really hot and as we made our way down to the boat we were all really hoping to see dolphins. The work we have to do in the afternoon is cropping,matching and grouping photos of the dolphins but it would be great to do this with dolphins that we have spotted ourselves today, rather than match photos from a previous times.
Sho and I grouping the dolphin photo's yesterday
Today we are going to work along G transect and after we had been going about 45 minutes and stared along the G transect we spotted the Bottlenose dolphins, we were all so excited especially after a couple of days with no sightings. We all had to count the number of dolphins in our section - altogether there were about 20 dolphins in the group, with a new born a calf and a juvenile dolphin!!! Wow this was wonderful, the young ones stay so close to mum as they swim along. Even I can identify Picco by his dorsal fin as it is so ragged and shaped so distinctly
This is our group of bottlenose dolphins with the juvenile
Well I have to dash now as we have to group and match our photos from this morning - will be in touch later today.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
We started at point D then completed section D,E and F. When we are on our way to the start point, or travelling anywhere other than on the transections, we all have to look down. This is called negative observance - until we reach our start point then he tells us we are on positive observance and we all have our section to observe. While observation is in progress there is no talking or asking any questions. Joan is just waiting for us to shout out dolphines at 3 o'clock etc. Although we were working on this all morning- we did not see any dolphines.
Joan took us to see some other ways that the fishermen are working, below you can see a fisherman high up a tower which makes his look-out point. When the nets are filled he calls for the other fishermen to help close the circle of nets - which captures the fish.
Travelling on our way back to base we see this fish farm where the fish are actually being fed their pellets.
See below a photo of the house where we are staying,
And finally today before I go back to base to carry on with our work, we are matching dolphines from those we first saw to put all the same dolphines in the same file on the computer. We have a lecture by Joan after this work and our duties to do either cooking or cleaning, dinner then is at 9pm
This group photo was taken this morning on the boat - be in touch tomorrow -fingers and toes crossed that we spot dolphines!!
Friday, August 12, 2011
In the afternoon we were shown 'The End of The Line" film by Rupert Murray, the problem is that too many big boats are chasing too many little fish world wide, the bottom trawlers draggin along the bottom of the sea is comparable to having a field ploughed 7 times a year, you need only to ask yourself what could grow in this sort of scenario? For example the fishing industries in Newfoundland where they fished for cod was desimated due to overfishing then in 1992 cod fishing was banned and 40,000 fishermen lost their jobs and their livelihood. The biggest trawler net is big enough to hold 13 x 757 planes!
Each afternoon and evening we are given tutorials either about the dolphins or other conservation issues. When we spotted the striped dolphines Joan took 300 photos - 150 of these he kept and we have to 'crop' each of these photos in order to reduce their size, this makes it easier to match the dorsal fins of the dolphin. They have a database of all recorded dolphins, some of which they have seen many times, Joan and his team have given the dolphines names.
Cetaceans are divided into two groups:
Odontocetes (pronounced odontoseats) from ancient Greece (oden = teeth and cetes = monster) - so these have teeth - they are the orcas, purposes and dolphins
Mysticetes - do not have teeth - they have baleen's - eg fin in their mouth, they take in a mouthfull of smallfish and push the water out through their baleens but keeping hold of the fish, these are the large whales except sperm whale.
Here is a picture of a whales 'baleens'
Today we get up later at 7am to go out on the boat to the Amvrakikos area. The sea is very rough my area to view when we are in position will be 3 o'clock to 6 o'clock - today it is very hot, I am very grateful for the long sleeved shirts my friend Hilary has lent me! I have bought a Tilley hat (pink) with a lacer to go under your chin so you don't lose it when the boat goes fast. It is a bit like riding a horse, when the waves hit the boat you go quiet high. You have to keep both your feet flat on the floor and hold on very tight with both hands to the correct ropes. The wind and the view is absolutely wonderful, Joan is constantly pointing things out to us and telling us all about the area.
We follow a set of co-ordinates but unfortunately we do not spot any dolphins. We do spot a loggerhead turtle. We move onto an area where there are mussle farms, these have been banned due to the high level of toxins in the mussles and although no longer in use the lines and drum markers are still all in place. Joan tells us that this is a good place to find turtles so, in our 'spotting position' we go up and down the lanes looking for turtles. We spotted three, they are lovely - so graceful - below is a photo of a turtle near one of the marker drums, this was taken by Joan for Tethys Inst.
Have to go back to base now as it is nearly 4pm and we have a lecture on fish farming - be back in touch soon!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
See the short video I took of the dolphins as they came along side of us - it was wonderful!!