10,000 Island Dolphin Project
The last three months of intensive effort have produced a clearer picture of Seymour's range and daily movements, information that will be useful when the Marine Mammal Stranding Network goes into action on his behalf.
Crucial to that success has been the help of the local community. In order to fill out the picture of this dolphin's habits we have tried to put as many eyes on the water as possible. On Several occasions The Rose Marco River Marina, where the Dolphin Explorer has its home, has made rental boats available to us at no cost so that we could have two or three boats out searching at the same time. We had to cover a lot of water to eventually narrow the search area and this generosity on their part was a huge help. The Marina also displayed our wanted poster of Seymour and on several occasions this produced valuable information.
On Monday, February 20th Captain Shannon Monahan who skippers one of the two sailing catamarans for the Marriot on Marco Island spotted Seymour and radioed the Marina. They immediately passed the information on to us. It was fortuitous timing because James Livaccari and I were both at the dock and were able to hop in a gheenoe I recently purchased to extend our survey work and act on her information. Within twenty minutes we were able to pick up the trail and conduct a five hour follow that added crucial information on Seymour's range. Here is a file Download Feb.20Seymour that updates the previous Google Earth map with information we were able to acquire thanks to Shannon.
Dave Strickland, one of our captains, arrived from Naples in the Miss D to help. The addition of a second boat to the effort proved crucial - when James and I lost track of Seymour (easier than you might expect - especially as he moved in and out of canals and occasionally mixed with other dolphins) Dave would call to say he had him in his sights. At one point he was milling around with a mother and her calf and sub-adult and these dolphins began travelling away from the area. We followed thinking Seymour was with them, but once we caught up with them it was clear a fourth dolphin had joined this family's outing; Dave spotted Seymour back where we began.
Then, today, the Dock Master at the Esplanade, who also had one of our wanted posters, called me to say that his assistant had a definite sighting of Seymour in Smokehouse Bay - another piece of the puzzle and an important one, as our focus had shifted to the area of Sunday's follow.
Natalie Strom produced a nice article for The Coastal Breeze publication and I received a sighting call from a citizen as a result of that article.
A huge thanks to members of the local community for all their help. And not just the local community - thanks also to the kids at Crafton Elementary School in Pittsburgh who have raised funds to help Seymour's rehabilitation.