October 19, 2018
Play Time with Dolphins
- as seen by -Julie Larsen Maher
The surface of the sea is still.
Then, I see it start to churn as small, silvery shapes form a sphere off the starboard side of our vessel. These are forage fish, a favorite food for fin and humpback whales and dolphins that like to swim in the cool waters of the Gulf of Maine.
I pull out my camera just as a pod of Atlantic white-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus acutus) bursts through the bait ball. These acrobatic cetaceans, both adults and their offspring, surf alongside our boat for a time to catch the waves from our wake. One leaps high enough for me to see its distinctive shades of gray, white, black, and ochre coloration. With their play time complete, the dolphins dive deep and away to follow their food.
Atlantic white-sided dolphins, like all marine mammals, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a national policy to prevent them from decline caused by human activities like pollution, entanglement, and ocean noise.
To find out more, go to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Nikon D5, Nikkor 200-500 Lens