You’ll also see a wide variety of Florida’s
native birds such as pelicans, egrets, herons, osprey, bald eagles and
more. Occasionally, a gentle Manatee will make an appearance on this
Make sure you bring your camera, as you will have multiple
opportunities to capture breathtaking photos on this trip. On this tour,
your Captain will steer you through a historic commercial fishing
village and past several spectacular waterfront homes and estates.
Blue 80-passenger catamaran tour boat, “The Sea Adventure,” is thelargest, safest, and most stable dolphin watch boat in the Tampa Bay
area. Your boat offers comfortable seating, restrooms, and an onboard
snack-bar offering cold soft drinks, beer, chips, candy, and snacks.
Climb on board and enjoy a real Florida experience!
By ANN WEAVER
published on Thursday, Aug. 26,
While Facebook busily
redefines what it means to have a relationship, whom we
spend our time with reveals more about us than any
psychoanalysis of our childhood or sip of fermented
If you work fulltime, you spend
more time with the Bevs and Bills of your workaday
worlds than with your children or spouse.
If you’re retired, you
presumably choose your companions. This seemingly gives
us a look at human social life as it was meant to be.
For a lot of us, it’s easy (and
cheaper) to replace visits home with phone calls, or god
forbid, text messages and Facebook displays.
Ever felt guilty about that?
Maybe we can get some tips on
family affairs from free-ranging bottlenose dolphins.
After all, they’re intelligent and socially flexible.
Importantly, they’re under no pressure to look
affectionate or respectful.
Bottlenose dolphins live in
fission-fusion societies. Fission means splitting apart.
Fusion means coming together. The fission-fusion society
connotes a dizzying constancy of social group formation,
destruction and reformation.
People understand this. If you
socialize with people who were actually present in the
same room, think about the best party you ever attended
– wedding, bar mitzvah, bluegrass weekend, christening –
whatever. If you socialize with people over cyberspace,
think about the comings and goings on your social
You spend time with one person;
that ends. You spend time with a different person; that
ends. Someone else shows up; soon replaced by someone
else or maybe the first person again. On and on it goes
until the party is over.
The challenge of social
networking (and, alas, work e-mails) is that the
fission-fusion “party” is never over, on land or sea.
The dolphins in our study area
manage as many as 70 social relationships.
Some of their relationships are
superficial. By chance or design, dolphins who mingle at
dusk in the rich radiating waterways of John’s Pass get
the chance to socialize with acquaintances and
strangers. Some, like commuters on the same train
schedule, may not actually interact. Instead, they drift
in one another’s vicinity, drawn to the same
Some dolphin relationships are
deep, indicated when a dolphin is psychobiologically
crushed by the loss of a beloved companion or by local
female Split, who prodded and protected the body of her
dead baby for over a week, and then had dolphin
dermatitis for the next year.
Surely, the mother-calf bond is
the sine qua non of emotional ties. Mom dolphin has a
calf. She spends years nurturing, protecting, feeding,
retrieving and teaching her baby how to fish. They’re
Then, the next calf is born.
Mom is busy tending it. For the older calf, suddenly
it’s over. Many appear to fledge (wean) abruptly, with
no preparation. Severed from mom’s care, the older calf
swims off. It is alone for the first time in its life.
How can this be? Is the deep
mother-calf bond snapped? Or is it stretched, like your
bond with your parents when you grew up and moved away?
This summer’s mother-calf
reunions suggested that the bond is stretched.
One August morning, perfect for
cruising waterways past tangles of mangroves, two little
dolphins were wholly focused on making as much bodily
contact as possible. Five-year-old VC accepted rolling
invitations from two-year-old Fugazi, arching up and
plunging them both into seas of froth and fun.
Their moms hunted nearby. That
wasn’t strange for Fugazi, who is not yet weaned. But it
was wildly notable for VC, who weaned last year and has
only seen his mom three times since.
That night, we saw two
“reunions” among the dolphins that had assembled around
John’s Pass at dusk. This time, VC cavorted wildly with
teens Sharkey and Scarface. Their moms too were nearby,
tending yearling calves. It was notable because they
only see their moms two to three times a year.
In all of these reunions,
surface observation showed no obvious interaction
between moms and older calves. But in the dolphin way,
each knew perfectly well that the other was there.
Dolphin moms and older calves
only get together a handful of times each year. But the
fact that they do so consistently asks if the
“disconnected connection” inherent in e-mail was really
invented by the Internet. The next question is whether
dolphin reunions are random, and if not, how dolphins
Humans and bottlenose dolphins
manage a dizzying array of relationships. Both have
Still, IF you had complete
freedom (which you don’t), would you go home every once
in a while?
Dr. Weaver studies wild
dolphins under federal permit GA1088-1815, National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Send her an
Article published on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010
Copyright © Tampa Bay Newspapers: All rights reserved.
Daily at 1pm - 3pm - 5pm
Children (11 & under): $8.41
Children (2 & under): Free
with Free Beer & Wine
one of the wonders
of the West Coast with
our sunset trips down
Street” on the Intercoastal Waterway
through Treasure Island
Blind Pass, returning
on the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll view the
color-filled skies, enjoying cool sounds and free drinks, with fun for
the entire family.
5 pm through winter
7 pm through summer
Children (11 & under): $8.41
Children (2 & under): Free
a group of 10 or more?
to view our group rate discounts.
Group rates quoted are for regularly scheduled daily cruises. Open
to the general public. All Cruises are subject to availability,
weather and minimum number of fares. Gratuity of 15% suggested on
groups of 10 or more.
Helpful Cruise Hints...
SUNSCREEN for our Florida-intense sun!
footwear are required on all cruises.
beautiful sights memorable...bring a camera and binoculars.
cash for the snack bar for drinks and snacks.
books available aboard on sea life, wildlife, and history.