A misty and wet day!
After breakfast Amy, one of the Earthwatch researchers leading the team, talked to us about the boat use and what our jobs are to be. We will record details of the sightings of the dolphins, weather patterns, and the condition of the sea e.g. size and directions of the waves..
She told us about the GPS system (Global Positioning System) that records exactly where the dolphins are. Amy will take the research photos of the dolphin's dorsal fins to record on computer later when we get back to the house.
Off-boat time will be spent trying to match existing fin photos with new photos. If we manage to get a match with an unnamed dolphin we get to choose a name. Isn't that great! I hope someone on our team gets to name one.
Dr Bernd Wurzig then came to talk to us about marine mammals. He knows so much about these animals. I learned so much about whales, dolphins, porpoises, seal and heaps of other mammals that feed in the sea. Did you know that polar bears are classified as marine mammals too?
After lunch Cindy, one of the other researchers, explained to us what our observation tasks would be. We discovered how a theodolite (a surveyor's tool) works to give the operator an exact location of the dolphins using latitude and longitude readings.
We will follow or track the group for at least 30 minutes recording location, behaviour (what they are doing playing, traveling, resting or just milling about.)
We then had to learn how to use the computer to load the information onto the computer. This was quite tricky at first but we got pretty good after some practice.
We will be recording the dolphin behaviour, identifying any boats that come near and what they are doing (there may be swimmers in the water off the boats or they may just be traveling past). We have to track the group for at least 30 minutes to make it worthwhile and successful.
After a short break we had tea and then Amy explained the identification of dolphin's fins and how we can try to match them to existing photos. We need to look for notches in the dorsal fins. This sounds very difficult but she says it gets quite easy with practice.
Tomorrow it is Monique's and my turn to help out on the observation site so I will let you know how we get on. I just hope the weather is fine so that we can make a start.