A stunning day provided the perfect backdrop for Parndana Campus studentsâ€™ fifth birthday field survey to Dashwood Bay on Thursday 7th April. A bright sunny Autumn day with little or no wind provided excellent conditions for observations and photographic identification work. Again the raised observation seat at the stern of KI Marine Adventures â€œZeehundâ€ was an instant hit with students who rotated through the platform, obtaining outstanding images though crystal clear waters.
Half the usual pod were sighted very early in the trip at an area referred to as the â€œfruit salad patchâ€ by local commercial fishers due to the wide variety of species caught there. The female and juvenile combinations were obviously enjoying the conditions and utilising them for good learning and instructing opportunities. Continuing on to Dashwood Bay another fourteen animals, including a new calf showing foetal folds, greeted the students and provided a high energy display of feeding activity. As the first group sighted appeared, following their travels, the hydrophone yielded a lot of excited chatter, delighting all on board. Mark, an Irish scientist from SARDI working with rock lobster fishers joined the students on board and was able to provide information with respect to Cetacean movement patterns in the United Kingdom and Ireland, in particular.
The final fifth birthday celebration for Dolphin Watch was enjoyed at the Emu Bay jetty upon return with yet another magnificent cake from Wayne Loechel at the Kangaroo Island Bakery. A perfect end to a perfect field trip with an excellent data set obtained for further analysis.