03 June 2008

Lone common dolphin near Kalamos

First day out at sea, first day of field research in Kalamos and first sighting of the season...

At 8 AM we are ready on the boat. "Transect A clockwise" is the survey we pick up randomly. The sea conditions just ideal. After 50 minutes of navigation: OUT!

A solitary fin appears 500 m from our boat and we (Marina, Marcel, Shiva and two volunteers: Olivier and Minia) are thrilled. As we approach the dolphin we have a strange feeling. It is small and dark, fast and swimming elegantly.

Everybody is thinking about what dolphin species it may be, but nobody wants to say a word before being sure... But yes - it is a small fin with a white patch! It is a short-beaked common dolphin!

This individual is a well known male nicknamed ‘Fiocco’, who has been visiting the Kalamos area since 1994, but has been absent over the last two years.

Wow! The first sighting of the season and we meet a common dolphin, now quite rare in this area (and elsewhere). We are literally frozen by the unexpected sighting, and it takes a while before we get fully organized for the data collection.

We look at him in silence, enjoying every seconds of this lucky and emotional event. Then we get back to the research: photo-identification and behavioural data collection.

It may sound ingenuous, but Fiocco gave us the innocent hope of seeing again all the 150 common dolphins that used to thrive in these waters, not too long ago.

Marina Costa, Marcel Clusa and Shiva Javdan

More information about the common dolphins situation around Kalamos

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