Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Baby Dolphin!!!!!!11!! Woot!!!

So saturday's unbelievably cute animal was made to look positively uncute by events that transpired Sunday. We arrived on the dive boat at one of the shallow sandy bays used here as harbours by tourist yachts to pick up some more divers and as we did so the shot went up of dolphins. Now seeing dolphins is fairly rare here as it is but as soon as I clapped eyes on the fins I knew something was different to normal.

baby dolphin2

At first I thought they might be a couple of small porpoises of some sort as opposed to the more commonly seen bottlenosed or spotted dolphins as they were smaller than I expected and suddenly we got a clearer view and realised we had a cow and calf. There's the calf taking a big breath.

baby dolphin

Baby mammals of all species are not quite as slick at moving around as the adults and as with cute deer, gazelles, horses and sheep on land so with dolphins in the sea. He gave us the full bambi on ice routine of goofy baby swimming. First the little dude's head would pop straight up and then his tail would frantically flap thin air as he timed his surfacing wrong. It was a nightmare with digicam shutterlag so I switched to video....lets hope dolphin parents don't do the embarassing baby videos in front of dates thing for his sake:

Very young dolphins such as this one (and I really do think he was probably born an hour or two before we arrived that morning) need to breathe far more often at first and often need a little help and guidance from mother at this time. We were told a pod had been seen nearby the previous night and I suspect the mother had broken off to give birth alone in a nice sandy protected area that would be relatively protected from both harsh open water conditions and big predators (in this area this could only really be tiger or possibly bull sharks). When we returned an hour and a half later the little one was moving out into open water and swimming far more securely and breathing in almost the same controlled fashion as mother. So yeah Sunday was a good day.


Joe said...

Where are you?

Dolphins are tough to photograph because they are fast!

Zach said...

That's great! I'm so glad you caught him on video.

Floridacracker said...

We often see mother/calf pairs here, but it is always exciting!

tai haku said...

Joe - I'm in the leeward island chain
Zach - me too
FC - you often get to see these and the manatees and all those cool herps? I'm jealous!

Eugenie said...

Joe, not truciops truncatus- it makes them better survey subjects because their known for their longer surfacing periods.

Did you get to see the fetal folds?! You can only see them on the newest of newborns!

Eugenie said...

"they're" not "their". my bad

tai haku said...

Eugenie - we did see some folds but I didn't get as close a look as I would've liked (I would have given an arm for some bins or one of my telephotos at that moment).

They were pretty much gone when we saw them later in the day.