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A Day in the Life of a Dolphin Research Scientist

Aug 1, 2011

Location: Gulf of Aroncia
Author: Callie Briscoe
Rocking back and forth with the waves the view from the binoculars is bumpy at best. But what a view it was. In the far distance a fin broke the water and quickly retreated back into the depths. But that dolphin was not alone and soon it was joined by several others. We sat on a small motor boat with the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute watching and taking notes as the scene unfolded and small groups broke the surface from mothers and cubs to males who joined in the feast behind the trawler. That morning we were up and ready for whatever the day entailed when we were told we might see dolphins later. We got to shore to find out that it was market day so we took off to look around before going to the Institute. We got there and had an introduction to Bottlenose dolphins and to what the institute is about. When the presentation was done we decided who was going to join them for dolphin watching in the afternoon and went off to have lunch. We joined back up with everyone and got onto the institute’s motorboat and heading out to look for dolphins. We first looked around the aquaculture farm because it is a known hunting ground but had no luck. So we made our way out into the Gulf to find a trawler to follow and hopefully some dolphins. And we did. Behind the trawler we saw at least seven dolphins and two cubs. We floated around following them until we couldn’t find them anymore, so we headed back to the aquaculture farm and we were in luck again. In the farm there was a mother, two cubs and a male. We left the farm and got back on Argo to get under way. We headed to Port Pollo in Sardinia. While under way Sam decided that those who went Dolphin watching needed to shower so we learned that there was a way to do an on deck shower. The shower entails getting into a bathing suit, coming on deck while everyone is watching and going under a freezing cold, high pressure hose shooting out salt water. Let’s just say the showers were quick. After getting in some warmer clothes we had a science class on aquaculture with Laurie before bed and an early night.