13 July 2008
Early morning fish-farm sighting
Another early morning at the Tethys field base in Kalamos. The sun had not risen long, but Silvia was already walking up the path behind the house towards our 'land observation point'. While the rest of the crew made their way to the boat in preparation for another hot day of surveying, Silvia had spotted 4 bottlenose dolphins in the channel between Mytikas and Kalamos.
Receiving the news via cell phone, we soon sped from Episkopi towards the assumed location, all intently looking around for the early morning visitors. Soon enough, we found the group at the Mytikas fish farm, which is appearing to be a common meeting place.
We started the behavioural sampling routine at 7:30AM! Throughout the 2.5 hours of data uploading, we observed countless social interactions with percussive and aerial displays. As curious as we were towards the group, they returned the intrigue by spyhopping a few times and often surfacing face first before taking a breath.
There were a few instances that caught our interest. One was that the group appeared to be separated into two couples that usually surfaced together. At one point in the sighting, a school of fish about 15m from the fish farm were jumping out the water with the dolphins around. Another peculiar observation was how fearless the dolphins were in the fish farm. Without any precaution, the dolphins were racing, jumping and socializing around the cages. The dolphins appeared to be unaffected by the fish farm boats driving around. Some of the workers seemed to appreciate the presence of the dolphins and watched them every now and then.
Returning back at the base and uploading the wonderful pictures taken by Annalise, we soon realized that the 4 bottlenose were none other than the 4 juveniles that have been spotted numerous times this season. The four were usual found with Spiti, the male with the dorsal fin cut off; but in this case, he appeared to be elsewhere.
Only time will tell what the Mytikas fish farm has in store for us in the future!