Monday, May 24, 2010

In Memory Of:

This is in memory of one of my favorite dolphins: The Baiji (or Yangtze River Dolphin), now declared extinct.

When I was 7 I saw my first picture of the Baiji. It was in the Whales and Sharks book my mother had just bought me from Barnes and Noble. I saw this beautiful dolphin, all cute and chubby, and I fell in love. I read that page over and over again. The book falls right open to it now. This was 1996. I still remember the shock I felt when i read they were critically endangered.

Now it is 2010. No Baiji have been sighted in several years. A study was conducted in 2002 and 2007 in search of the Baiji. Aerial images were taken, and boats with microphones listening for clicks and whistles searched the whole river. No sounds were heard, no fins were sighted. I remember it was september 2008, and i was on the IUCN red list they day they were listed as extinct. I felt a piece of me die that day, I sat there in my cinderblock apartment and cried. I have never felt so helpless. I was not fast enough, I was not old enough to save them. One of my dreams had died, it was gone and would never be coming back. That is extinction everyone: the empty feeling that something is gone, and will never come back. No matter how hard we try, man can never create a Baiji. It was created by God, Killed by man. We were given stewardship over this earth. What kind of stewards are we? Ask yourself that, what are you?

I thought extinction was a thing of the past: the dodo bird, the carrier pigeon, the red fruit bat, the persian tiger, tasmanian tiger (thylacine), and stellars sea cow. I pray everyday this will not happen to the Vaquita (Gulf of Mexico dolphin) or the many other cetaceans (or birds, plants, reptiles, and other mammals) critically endangered.

Only divine providence will allow for some to be alive still. Heaven help us stop destroying. Heaven help us save our world. Heaven help us for what we have done.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


So dolphin research has started back up! woo! Well, it started, and now it's over cause the fall season is really short. So I was only on three days before the season was over. They were the best three days of dolphin research I've done.

Day 1 - I watched two stingrays play tag with each other. They looked like they were having a royal good time. It was really cool. Then, later in the day I watched an eagle ray leap out of the water two times in a row! He lept out of the water, and flapped his wings, like he wanted to fly out of water rather than in it. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It was very nice he did it twice in a row so I could see it a second time for a better look. (They will do this to escape from sharks, or to remove remoras. There were no sharks around so I'm guessing he was being annoyed by some cleaner fish.)

Day 2 - A pod of 96 dolphins showed up. Enough said... ha ha We watched them come right into the beach and spend the afternoon surfing. The waves were black with dolphins it was incredible. The surfers down at that beach were so lucky! It was sets and sets of dolphins rather than waves. So beautiful.

Day 3 (the best) - So today, tuesday, I thought would just be a normal day up at the lighthouse watching dolphins. Not so. I was out in the kayak today. it was a perfect day, low swell, hardly any wind, crystal clear water, we're talking 30 m. visibility clear! So it started out with me and Peta actually trying to get in the kayak. The process involved us tipping the kayak several times, and both of us loosing our swimmers and mooning the 20 people on the beach several times as well. We had a good laugh. We got out and it was a gorgeous day, the most perfect weather. We got a call from the lighthouse saying we had a pod heading over. We followed them for about an hour. The best part was right at the end, we were iddeling, and the pod turned around and came RIGHT AT US! We just held out breathe and tried to hold the camera steady. They swam right underneath the kayak, and right next to us. The dolphins were so close we could have touched them. They were popping up and staring at us, you could see them focusing on us, it was amazing! The video camera I was using is water proof, so I stuck it underwater and got sound recordings! you could hear them talking to each other, it was amazing! They are so beautiful up close! I love the sound they make with their blow hole when they come up to breathe, ah, I just can't even explain how incredible they are. There are not enough words to describe them, or they way they make me feel, especially when they are inches away.

After dolphin research was done, I went out for a little snorkel at the reef right next to the pass. What's amazing is that the pass is only known for surfing, no one even knows about the reef right there that is full of amazing marine life. Within 5 minutes of being out there, I saw a catskill shark, about 2 ft long. I have never seen one in real life, and it was beautiful (don't worry mom, they eat small shellfish, squid, etc, they don't really have teeth). Then, right after him there was a small silver reef shark about 1 m. long hiding out in a little over hang. He was gorgeous, with long sweeping fins, and beautiful silver lines. A juvenile green sea turtle came over to say hello, along with a school of about 200 yellow diamond fish. I could stay there all day, once again, words cannot even describe, the more i try, the more ridiculous I will sound haha

Just know, the ocean is an amazing place. It deserves to be protected and loved! To all those who don't have any exposure to it, make is part of your life. If you have never seen the ocean, put it on your bucket list. Any ocean will do.