7 Jan 2013

This year's first dolphin encounter

We took advantage of nice January days to do the first fieldwork of the year. Yesterday, after spotting Mediterranean shags, shearwaters and bluefin tunas, we encountered a group of 30 dolphins, not far from Piran. The encounter was a very special one, because we quickly recognised several well known fins. Bananko, Paolo and Lovrenc were the first dolphins to be recognised. Soon after, we spotted other »old friends«. There were Daphne, Emanuela, Amanita, Foki, Kai, Deinon and Sergio, which we see every year, as well as Hidro and Tarja, which we haven't seen since 2008. Apart from these familiar fins, we also saw some new ones. There were several calves in the group, and they were particularly playful. They enjoyed bowriding in front of our boat and jumping around it. They continuously vocalised while doing that, and we could hear their whistles through the boat hull. This year, Emanuela's calf will be three and Daphne's calf will be two years old, while Tarja introduced her new baby. We were glad to see that all the calves appeared healthy, which is very important for the population.
We also headed out to sea today and found another group containing eight adult dolphins. They were busy foraging, so they did not show much interest in us. To avoid unnecessary disturbance, we left the group after collecting the most important data. Apart from dolphins, we had a magnificent view of the beautiful Julian Alps of Slovenia in the background. The year started off really well and we hope to see much more of our friends this year.

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