Monday, April 04, 2005

Vacation stories

It’s Monday again, and I’m back from vacation. As always, it’s slow getting back into the swing of things. The wife, the friends and I had a great time on St. Simon’s Island. The place we stayed, Sea Island, is a hoity resort sort of place, full of giant SUVs with “W” stickers, but somehow I managed to enjoy myself. It was either the company, the sun, or the margaritas, or possibly all three. The coolest part of the trip, in my opinion, took place on Thursday. I was sitting in a chair on the beach trying to get caught up on reading for a discussion group I’m in, when I looked out and saw two fins about 150 feet off the beach. The fins were rounded at the top and not accompanied by a vertical tail fin, thus I figured they were probably dolphins of some sort.

The dolphins were swimming along the shore, so I ran along side trying to get a glimpse. About 1000 feet from where we were sitting, the beach ended in a sea wall and the water reached in to form an inlet. As I was standing at the sea wall, the two dolphins swam in front of me about 30 feet away. Even cooler, they began to swim in circles in the inlet and hunt and play. I’m assuming they were following a school of fish, as they spent a lot of time swimming in tight circles and swimming with their heads down and tails out of the water. At one point, though, one dolphin swam on his back with his head out of the water, splashing with his front fins (flippers?). After about 10 minutes of this, they headed back out to sea. Needless to say, I was totally enthused, having never seen dolphins in the wild before.

Which reminds me. The latest NOAA newsletter reports on its North Carolina research branch’s recent efforts to save a harbour porpoise. The pictures are pretty cool, as is the story. I had no idea porpoises could live in fresh water, nor that they were so small.

Anyway, now that I’m back, I’ll get some more stuff up on the blog.