Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Dolphin display

[Tales of everyday life in Stanley, Falkland Islands.  This week, the natural wonders relegate the politics to the back page.....]

Nordic Walker with King Penguin  looking for company
I'm lucky enough to spend quite a lot of time outdoors, and especially around the coast, near Stanley.   My part-time role as a Warden at a penguin rookery means I get paid to stand on a headland in all weathers.  When there's a lull between tourist buses arriving, I tend to scan the bay for movement.
At speed and in formation....
On about 50% of the days I've worked there this year, I've seen dolphins, so I know they are almost always around, if you have the patience or luck to spot them.  Quite often they appear as the last tourist gets back on the bus!
Completely clear
But, last Sunday was exceptional.  I was walking with my wife at one of my favourite spots, where hundreds of penguins can be see at the other side of a barbed-wire fence (indicating a mine-field).  We were about to leave, when we saw the familiar triangular fins of dolphins, in the distance.  However, instead of the normal slow patrol of the  bay, with fins appearing above the surface about every 30 seconds, this pod of about 8 dolphins lined up and then thrashed the water with their tails
video

Then they accelerated to a speed I had never seen before, pushing a bow-wave through the water like a convoy of small  speedboats.  I assume they were driving fish  ahead of them, and occasionally they leapt high out of the water.  In no time at all, they had covered the half-mile or so from the far side of the bay, and were out of sight.

Sorry for the quality of these pictures and video, but I felt lucky to have witnessed it at all, and it wasn't easy to keep the camera steady!

Peter

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