We woke up to a beautiful sunny day, however it was quite windy. The sea state appeared to be around level 3. We all boarded the Zodiac and began our search for dolphins. Once we were away from the mooring it was obvious that it was going to be a very rough ride. Imagine what it feels like to ride a horse on top of the ocean. That is what it was like for me. I had to hold on tight as the boat galloped across the gulf. Unfortunately, because of how rough the water was we could not detect any dolphins, even though I am certain they were there. We were only out for about one hour before Joan decided we should return to shore. I asked him what the sea state was and he told me that the level had reached a maximum of 6 during our journey. Dolphin sightings are difficult in any condition above level four.
Since we could not look for dolphins we returned to the research center and watched a short documentary and Joan gave a presentation about cetaceans. I learned that there are two main groups of cetaceans. One is called misticetes and the other is odontocetes. Whales are in the misticetes group and dolphins are in the odontocetes group. What do you think is the main difference between the two groups?
After lunch we took a ride to the Kalamos research sight. It is located in the Ionian Sea. Joan's collegue Giovanni Bearzi use to research a population of common dolphins that lived in the area. As a result of overfishing it is now rare to see one of these dolphins, where as little as ten years ago, you could stand on the shores and be certain that a dolphin would appear. Overfishing of sardines in this area is the cause of the disappearance of these dolphins.
One reason why overfishing has become such a problem is improvements in technology. Ways of catching fish are now quite advanced and the fish really do not stand a chance. Can you describe at least one technique fisherman use today that enables them to catch very large quantities of fish? How does this affect the ecosystem?
During our outing Joan showed us a fish farm in the Ionian Sea. Fish are caught when they are very young and placed in cages. When they are large enough they are sold commercially. How does this contribute to overfishing? Dolphins are often seen around fish farms because they like to steal the fish from the cages. It is kind of like a self serve restaurant for them.
Finally we came home and enjoyed the delicious dinner that Cas and Marie-Claire made for us. Each night two people are responsible for cooking a dish that is representative of their homeland. I was in charge of last night's menu. Guess what I cooked.
Weather reports are predicting nice weather tomorrow. We are going to bed optimistic. Hopefully I will get to take some dolphin pictures to share with everyone.