Sitting in the saloon, in this (half) day off we granted everybody, the memories of the recent weeks at sea have the time to arise. The daily life in the field is really tough and busy, hectic, physically and mentally demanding, there is no time to stop, pause and think, remember, elaborate. You just live and experience, waiting for calm days to let all this new “baggage” settle down. Today is one of those days.
The first two expeditions of this summer have just been concluded, we are now in Hamata and will set sail tomorrow for ten more days. In these first 20 days, we did focus on the southernmost part of the study area, navigating straight to the southern border of Halaib and covering as many transects as possible heading north. The area to cover is really immense and diverse, we navigated a lot but we were paid off eventually. So far we had 25 awesome sightings including spinner, pantropical spotted, common bottlenose and indo pacific bottlenose dolphins, caught a glimpse of Risso’s dolphins as well. All this in weather and sea condition at the limit: we had everyday constant wind that limited our movements as visual observation relies on the possibility of spotting the animals in a reasonably wide strip of waters..Choppy sea and white caps are not the ideal conditions then. Every cloud has a silver lining, though. Stuck in the deep south, unable to sail on our routes because of the strong wind, we had the chance to carry out a detailed survey in Qubbat ‘Isa, a Dolphin House offshore Halaib visited by spinner dolphins. Extremely interesting, especially considering the efforts we are already devoting to investigate Samadai and Satayah reefs that might be enhanced by the comparison with this new case study. We are briskly preparing a report that we will upload as soon as possible.
A few differences in terms of presence and distribution of the species were noticed compared to last year’s results, however data have still to be analyzed and this is only a feeling for the moment.
As usual, five brilliant smart young students joined the team as field assistants and things are going very well. We would like to thank our crew and guests for their endless help and support, they really raise the value of this project and make it an exalting multifaceted experience that goes much beyond the pure research.