Friday, July 2, 2010

Meeting Jeff Corwin and 20 Plus Dolphin Sightings!

Friday morning was off to a great start. Rain showers were in the distance and threatening to come our way but we were clear for launching. We headed for the state lab and as we put the boats in the water, a gentleman approached asking if we were “turtle people” and I quickly replied (as much as I love turtles) that no, we were in fact “dolphin people.” The gentleman asking was none other than Mr. Jeff Corwin! He was down for the afternoon to do a segment on sea turtles in the Gulf and went out onto the water with Louisiana’s Fish and Wildlife crew to see if they could find any turtles in need. It was a pretty exciting way to start off the day and after a quick handshake and picture, we hit the water to look for dolphins.

Photo courtesy of Deepwater Horizon Response Photostream VENICE, La., - NBC correspondent and biologist Jeff Corwin gives a motivational speech and thanks responders for their efforts at the Plaquemines Parish branch for the Deepwater Horizon response in Venice, La.,

We had a few successful sightings and then noticed a fairly large storm system working towards us. We were working a site where we had seen about 4 or 5 dolphins when our other crew called us in. The storm was approaching fast and we did not want to get caught in the middle of it. To that point in the day, we had seen anywhere from 15-20 dolphins and still no oil. We waited back at the state lab for the storm to pass and then went back out for round two of surveys.

Photo courtesy of flickr

This second trip was incredibly smooth compared to the morning, the water was almost flat. It was interesting observing how many other boats were out in the bay. We had been working track lines in Caminada Bay and were heading towards Barataria Bay this afternoon. Boats were Everywhere! Skimmers and boats carrying boom, shrimp boats were all around—I can only assume working to soak up any oil and not shrimping. The bay was definitely heavy with traffic where we were heading. Some of the birds looked a little confused as to why there was not more to offer from the shrimp boats that were out on the water. They were all searching for scraps but coming up with empty beaks. We worked more lines but did not see too many dolphins the rest of the afternoon. At around five o’clock, we called it a day and began to head back for the lab. After getting to the lab, the researchers downloaded all of the data collected for the day and we came home to cook a nice lasagna dinner (frozen but delicious!) We all hit the sack around 9:30pm so we would be well rested for another day on the water.

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