Wednesday, December 07, 2005

2 Dec - Stubby came a'courting

The day started with almost perfect windless conditions. I pulled into Bay1 and there were about a dozen dolphins in 3 groups across the bay. I kicked out to a group of 5 who were fishing about 70 metres from shore. One of them was a young dolphin who keeps appearing on nearly all my swims. Although it has a clean, and, therefore, hard to identify fin it has a circular watermark about 5 cms in diameter just to the right of its blowhole. It is a very playful little creature. I'll call it Splotch. After 25 minutes of interaction this group left so I came back to shore and dried off.
I drove to Bay 2 and was pleased to see a large and a small fin in the bay. I kicked out and they disappeared as I approached. I was surprised by this and , even more so, when one of the dolphins surfaced and it was Chunkie. She dived again quickly and veered away from me. The reason became apparent when she surfaced next time. The small fin belonged to a male dolphin who is not very large but is old enough to want to be a dad. He was shadowing Chunkie's every move almost touching her. It is not unusual to see mating activity around here but usually in Bay3. I have never seen a single male courting just one female. The mating activity usually attracts a crowd ( of dolphins, that is ). I kept my distance and they kept up this synchronized activity for an hour. They were still going when I decided to head for home.
It will be interesting to see if Chunkie produces a new calf in 12 months time.


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