Thursday, October 27, 2005

23 October - Too easy

Sunday - a cool morning with little wind and heading towards a maximum of 27 deg.
I reached the junction where I have to decide if bay n0. 1 or no. 2 is to be my first port of call. I decided on no.1 and it was a good decision.
I parked my car and walked to the bay. There were lots of cormorants there which is usually a good sign because they seem to like the same fish as the dolhins do.
I saw a swirl under the surface which is indicative of a dolphin changing direction suddenly, usually when foraging. Before long two fins surfaced, a mother and calf. I trotted back to my car and changed into my wet suit.
Bay no. 2 is a great place because the reef is only about 120 metres from shore and the Ds are always easy to reach while they are in the bay. I swam out about 50 metres and the calf came over to check me out. The mother hung back a bit but I was pleased to see that it was Chunkie, the first D that swam with me 10 years ago. She treats me as part of the furniture these days and only gives me personal attention when there is no other dolphin around. She is easy to recognize as she has a 3in by 0.5 inch chunk missing from the back of her dorsal fin.
Her calf, which is at least 3 years old was trying to feed from her as they swam under me. He should be past that by now.
By now, there were other fins appearing in the bay. I recognized most of them but there was a high ragged fin which i wasn't sure that I had seen before. At one stage I counted 8 in the bay. They were fishing but also giving me regular "swim bys". The calfs were particularly friendly. The whole session lasted 90 minutes during which time I had a couple of ten minute breaks to warm up.
Toward the end I noticed a wide grey shadow under me. It was a ray with a wingspan of about 4 feet. They seem to be attracted to the shadow on my board and I've seen them occasionally in bay no. 1. I had never seen one in this bay before. Often, when a ray is hunting, a D will be stalking it trying to steal the food that the ray disturbs. The rays seem to take this quite calmly although it doesn't seem very fair to me. The dolphins were ignoring the ray - maybe it wasn't turning up anything interesting on the sandy bottom.
I left the water tired but satisfied with the encounter.


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