First sail boat survey of the summer

The team’s first sail boat survey was definitely one to remember. The day started early as we made our way to Porto Montenegro, Tivat, to board our research vessel. When we arrived we were slightly concerned that the trip would be cancelled due to the extensive amount of rain pouring from the heavens; however our boat captain, Richard, seemed raring to go. The stunning 6-berth Chance Discovery set sail at 10.30am heading for the ‘Southern Adriatic Pit’, an area of water deeper than  1000m, known to support large populations of dolphins and whales.

Around half an hour into our cruise, before we had even left the Bay of Kotor, the skies cleared, and two groups of bottlenose dolphins were spotted. We soon noticed that the groups included three juveniles, and after that it was not long until three adults began bow riding with our vessel! Once enough sightings data had been collected, we let the dolphins be, and headed out to the open ocean.

As lunch time came around we were summoned away from our binoculars, to the boat’s outdoor eating area, to find Richard had cooked lunch for the entire group. Whilst eating a delicious pasta dish, Richard grilled us with questions about dolphins, he was eager to learn and also enjoyed telling us his own sea tails and those of his fellow sailors.

After lunch we re-glued ourselves to our binoculars, turned the boat around, and headed back to shore. Unfortunately we only made it to a depth of 185m, due to time constrains and the unpredictable nature of the speed of a sailing boat. As we returned to the bay, we re-encountered the same groups of dolphins that we had seen earlier; three adults and three juveniles, enjoying the tranquil and calm waters of the bay. The boat then docked at around 6.30pm. It was a long but exhilarating day out on the open ocean, with all of us getting a little too much sun, and I for one cannot wait for the next sail boat adventure. I would like to make special thanks to Richard George and Indigo Blue Sailing for being great hosts, and to Saskia Martin and Jesse Poot for taking these wonderful photos.

Sarah Tubbs

www.montenegrodolphinproject.org/en/first-sail-boat-survey-summer