Sunday, November 06, 2005

6 Nov - Babysitting duties

After a week when the weather was wintry I was not expecting a good day for sunday but the forecast was for light winds in the morning so I thought that I would drive to the beach to see if anything was happening. The sky was clear when I left home but the steering wheel was uncomfortably cold. The thought of immersing my body in the ocean was not a welcome one as I turned the heater on in the car.
I arrived at bay 2 at 7.50 and there were a couple of fins in the middle of the bay about 50 metre from shore. I changed into my wetsuit and kicked my board out toward them. By the time that I arrived the 2 Ds had turned into 6. Chunkie was there along with Little Nick and a clean finned D that I could not positively identify. Each had a calf. Chunkie's calf is quite large now and I wouldn't be surprised if she is pregnant again judging by her girth.
The visibility underwater was only about 2 metres so I watched the action from above the surface. They seemed to be relaxing and socialising as I observed no hunting activity. I was a peripheral part of their day as they swam by from time to time but kept their distance to about 10 metres. After 50 minutes I was getting cold and headed for shore to warm up a bit and decide whether to come back in to the water.
After 10 minutes I saw a couple of extra fins in the water and decided to go back in. I must have paid my dues with the first swim as 4 Ds peeled off and came straight to me, swimming right underneath my board. There were about 10 present now and I had one of those rare days when it seemed that i had been granted honorary membership of the group. I just cruised around on my board and the Ds kept surfacing right alongside me and keeping me company. It is unusual for them to stay on the surface when they are close but they were very relaxed. I noticed more and more small fins near me and fewer adult fins. For about 15 minutes I had only young dolphins with me, including the tiny one mentioned in my first post. It seemed that I had been elected babysitter while the mums went off for a bit of socialising of their own. I'm not sure what they expected me to do if a predator appeared but I guess that they knew that I was the slowest one in the group.
At about 10 am I decided that if I didn't leave the water hypothermia might set in so I gave the youngsters back to their mums and left the water.
I had a Coke while watching the 6 or so Ds left in the bay. Three people without any warm gear swam out and were rewarded with a swim by.
I left for home with the Ds still close to shore - a rare occurence indeed.