Date: 19 June 2014. Dolphin Visits.
[Posted late because I am in transit.]
While cruising along off the coast
of west Florida I have been enjoying looking at the wildlife.
Yesterday's shark [see
Shark Changes Plans article] was
well and good, but frankly not exactly my cup of
Earl Grey or
Constant Comment tea. Today was much better.
This is a beautiful area, and
quite remote. I have seen zero boats today, though there are crab
pot markers out here. Miles from shore, crab pots. There have been
no fishermen out here and it's been quite lovely. You can almost
imagine you're the only person on earth on days like today.
But I'm not alone! There are
schools of fish practically everywhere.
They are spotted by the
disturbance at the top of the water.
What surprised me most was with
all these fish at the surface, and even larger King Mackerel
underneath, I didn't see a single open console fishing boat out
taking advantage of the situation!
Side Note: A local later told me
the big silver fish I was seeing under the schools of fish were
mackerel. When I looked in my fish book though, they sure looked
like Yellowfin Tuna. The fish were big and looked thicker than
Check out this huge school
Now just because I was the only
boat out on the water doesn't mean I was alone. I spotted a
Frigatebird which always delights me. These birds are big, and easy
to identify with their sharp joints at the wings and forked tail. I took
a picture from my
Birds of North America
book to show you. They are dark and do not flap their wings
According to my
Birds of North America
guidebook, the frigatebird does not land on the water
but instead skim the surface for fish. They also will rob gulls and
terns in flight.
Old Nautical Lore: Generally not
seen close to shore, should you start seeing frigatebirds (think
three or more) flying inland, the weather is going to be foul.
Be aware, and set yourself up for stormy conditions.
As the day progressed, I was
joined by a pod of three dolphin about 1900 hours. (That's 7 p.m.)
These first three were a light grey color.
It was such fun to watch them play, chase fish
(remember the schools of fish are all around me) and then come back
in to swim at my bow. Below the bubbles just to the right
(starboard side of the boat) is one of the dolphin diving down.
Quite frankly, I was having just
way too much fun! It truly is amazing to see these wild
creatures who chose to join me on my part of my journey. I am
There was a downside however:
because I was out of cell phone range I had no one to share the
experience with. It's times like this that make me wish I was
cruising in tandem with another boat.
A few minutes later the grey
dolphins disappeared. And just a bit later three more dolphin came
by for a visit. These three were dark grey and played for a while
What a wonderful day I've had.
Today I was all alone with my thoughts most of the day. Didn't see a
soul, didn't hear a friendly voice. But there were visitors: a
frigatebird, so many schools of fish I couldn't imagine counting,
plus six dolphin joined me for a bit.
Life is great afloat, and I'm
blessed to be here.
Have you ever spent an entire day alone?
And, have you ever seen a frigatebird in person? Where were you?
© 2014, 2019, 2020
Shark Changes Plans ~
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Some Crabbers are Perverse
A favorite aphorism: The average cost of
rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez Oil spill in Alaska was
$80,000.00 At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved
animals were being released back into the wild amid cheers and
applause from onlookers. A minute later, in full view, a killer whale
ate them both.