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Dolphin and Sea Life Cruises Are Starting with a Bang!

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Whale Watching | Mammals

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Kera

As of May 1, gray whale season has officially ended, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lot going on in the water.

Although gray whale as officially ended, that doesn’t mean we won’t still see gray whales. There are always the stragglers that are still heading north. This year overall has also been a little behind schedule, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see gray whales here and there through May. We haven’t had many gray whale sighting the last few days but yesterday while out on the water we got a great show of bottlenose dolphins jumping out of the water all over the place!

Bottlenose dolphins can typically be found off of Southern California year round, but it’s not every day we come upon large pods like we did or get this great of a show. When we first came up to the pod it looked like it might have been a pod of common dolphins because there were so many and common dolphins are usually found in larger pods than bottlenose. As soon as we could see the dorsal fins I knew we had bottlenose. After we approached the pod some of them started jumping out of the water and getting air born! It was so awesome! They did it about 12-15 times in the 20 minutes we spent with them.

We’re still going out every day at 12pm and 3pm to search for the wild life in the area. There’s so much out there, each day is a new adventure. We know the blue whales will be soon and in the meantime we’re excited to see what the other whales and dolphins will bring us. The weather has been gorgeous and now is a great time to get out on the water!

Dolphin and Sea Life Cruises Are Starting with a Bang!
The bottlenose dolphins kept jumping over and over again!  | Kera Mathes
Dolphin and Sea Life Cruises Are Starting with a Bang!
This bottlenose did a full spin before splashing into the water.  | Kera Mathes

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Lisa Ford

Monday, May 16, 2011 08:58 PM

Dear Kera,
My name is Lisa and I am a 4th grader doing a research report on bottlenose dolphins. Can you answer some questions for me?

Why are dolphins playful around humans when they don’t know if they are predators or not?

Why do dolphins sometimes rescue people? How do they know if they are hurt?


Thank you,
Lisa

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011 10:53 PM

Those are great questions, Lisa! To answer your first question, dolphins in general are very curious. There have been many times while on the boat that the dolphins come right up to the boat and take a look at the people.  My assumption is that they don’t feel threatened, and if they did, they wouldn’t wonder over.

For you second question, that’s something that can’t really be explained. We know that dolphins are very intelligent, but as to why they have helped people, or how they’ve known people needed help has always been a mystery. Dolphins are also known to help other species as well. I’ve read a few papers about how dolphins have helped other whales and dolphins when they were in danger, or lead them out to sea after being stuck in a sandbar.  It really is amazing how they do that, but unfortunatley I don’t think there’s an answer as to why.

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Lisa Ford

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 02:18 AM

Thank you Kera!
I just read an interesting fact that dolphins can let just half of their brain sleep at a time so they can still be conscious enough to rise to the surface and breathe while resting. That is amazing!  Have you ever seen a dolphin sleeping?

Lisa

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011 03:49 PM

I’m not sure if I’ve seen a dolphin sleeping before. There might have been a time where I saw them sleeping and didn’t realize it. Dolphins will sometimes swim slowly in pairs very close together and that’s a time when they’re sleeping.  I’ve seen similar behaviors, but I’m not sure if they were sleeping.  I have seen some whales resting at the surface! When they rest at the surface that’s called logging because they resemble a floating log. Keeping part of their brain active is really important. Just like you mentioned, they have to be awake enough to remember to breathe. Humans automatically breathe where whales and dolphins have to make the conscious effort to breathe. Another reason it’s really important that they stay a little awake is to be able look for predators!

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Lisa Ford

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 09:01 PM

Thank you again Kera. This will really help my report.  What is your job title so I can reference you in my bibliography?

You are awesome!
Lisa

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Lisa

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 10:01 PM

I thought I’d share the pictures we took of dolphins and whales and when we did the whale watching trip on January 17.  I’m the one in the aqua colored shirt.  The bottlenose dolphins got so close that our pictures look like we were in the water with them!

https://picasaweb.google.com/dianeford/20110117WhaleWatching?authkey=Gv1sRgCPDumt2p18T6gAE&feat=directlink

Lisa

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011 11:06 PM

Those pictures are fantastic! Great job! Dolphins are not easy to photograph. Goodluck on your report!

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