No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

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No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Smudge » July 18th, 2014, 6:20 pm

So I finally dragged myself out for a shore dive. It's been a long time since I've gone diving in board shorts and a rash guard so that was a major plus! My D4 said the water was 87! Water was somewhat clean, a little hazy but at least 30ft of vis and super warm as I said. From shore I could see the shadow of what I was hoping to be a reef. This is all new territory to me so I was expecting this dive to be exploratory at best. Maybe spot a few bugs prior to mini-season in a little over a week. Maybe get real lucky and find a sleepy snapper or hogfish.

About five minutes after getting in, while I was still making the swim to the first reef, a flash or grey scared the shit out of me! Whew! Just a dolphin! After my experience up in Ft. Pierce a few weeks ago with dozens of hyped up over aggressive bull sharks I was a little hyper vigilant to say the least. No shark just a seriously curious bottle nose. It looked to be a younger dolphin. Definitely not full grown and it had a nasty scar on its tail forward of its flukes. Looked like a healed but gnarly bite.

I've had plenty of encounters with dolphins over the years. Most recently prior to this on Bill's boat near the Barn a few months back I had one nearly cause me to shart. Most times they just cruise up, check me out and then bail. Not this guy. He hung around for 20 minutes or more! Really friendly. He kept swimming up and stopping in front of me. I would waive my had and he would sort of shake his head and open his mouth slightly! I was still over the sand when I came upon him so I dove down to the bottom and blew a bubble ring to see what he would do. He circled around and then dove to the bottom and tossed a mouthful of sand! I was stunned! He continued to circle and follow me coming nearly close enough for me to touch. I found the reef after about ten minutes. Surprisingly it was pretty nice. Not the typical flat limestone slab reef but a bunch or boulders and good structure. Lots of little grey snappers and ornamentals. I made a few dives while my buddy was still hanging around and he continued to imitate me! I'd dive down and poke around in the rocks looking for a grouper and checking to see if any bugs were home.(yes indeed they were! Woohoo!) As soon as I would surface, he would dive down and poke around! Too cool! This went on for about 10 minutes and then he finally bugged out.

Not long after he bailed, I saw a legal female hog, but didn't shoot. I did see one nice mangrove maybe 5lbs but it was wise to me and bagged ass as soon as I tipped over to dive. I was a little under weighted which really made me work a lot harder than I should have in 20ft of water. Unfortunately, I never got a shot at a good fish. There were a few maybe legal snappers mixed into the schools but none big enough that I was confident enough to take a shot.

I circled that reef twice then went to check out the other close shadows and they turned out to be the more typical flat reefs with nothing but ornamentals and tiny snapper.

Next time I think I'm going to have to bring the GoPro.

Nice to have decent shore diving so close to home. I think I'll break out the kayak and cover some real ground...
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby chris oak » July 19th, 2014, 1:42 pm

That's pretty badass Matt, was it a bottlenose? I've seen dolphins here and once almost pulled the gun at one because it was crusing through the kelp bed in dirty water, thank goodness I didn't because I couldn't ID it when it first came through.

I'm jealous that you get to dive in warm clear water, wait till you visit back here and freeze your shit in the 52 degree white seabass water lol.
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Kirby » July 19th, 2014, 10:35 pm

Very cool, Matt.

I've only ever seen a dolphin underwater in nearshore California waters, once. It had a baby with it and they just stopped and stared at me. It was an amazing experience.

You should definitely start taking your camera with you!
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Bill McIntyre » July 20th, 2014, 11:04 am

I've been diving for over 60 years and have never seen a dolphin underwater. I know guys who saw some the first time they swam off the beach in Laguna. What the hell is wrong with me?

Could it be Drakkar Noir?
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Smudge » July 20th, 2014, 5:43 pm

That's weird Bill. I seem to have seen dolphins all over the place. This is the first time I've had one stick with me for more than a minute...

I did bring my camera yesterday. No dolphin, but I did shoot a just legal Mutton Snapper.

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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Smudge » July 20th, 2014, 6:56 pm

Oh and Chris the one in the kelp was a common as far as I could tell, but the one here was an Atlantic Bottlenose for sure....
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Bill McIntyre » July 20th, 2014, 7:27 pm

Smudge wrote:That's weird Bill. I seem to have seen dolphins all over the place. This is the first time I've had one stick with me for more than a minute...



It hardly seems possible. Just by chance I should have seen some.

Well, technically I guess I did see some one time. In the early 60s off of Kaneohe I jumped in next to a humpback whale and her calf, surrounded by a school of dolphins. The whales hung around, but all I saw was dolphin asses as they fled.

I don't think that really counts.
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Smudge » July 20th, 2014, 7:36 pm

I have to disagree. That definitely counts! LOL
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Jeff B » July 20th, 2014, 8:16 pm

That's super cool Matt! The only dolphin I've ever seen was a bottlenose that I bumped into (almost literally) on the edge of the kelp in Santa Barbara. All I saw was a flash as it turned and bolted as soon as we saw each other.
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby castronova » July 23rd, 2014, 5:53 am

Thats very cool the dolphin stuck around. I've only had them pass through... right after they scared the shit out of me.
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Smudge » July 23rd, 2014, 10:24 am

Man do they ever. The worst dolphin scare I had was in the Spanish Channel down there. I was riding the planer board behind my buddies boat looking for coral heads during mini-season a few years ago. I knew the lemon sharks and bulls were in full effect in the channel, but I said screw it. The tide switched and the water started to get dirty when out of nowhere a dolphin came blasting up at me full speed. I yelped and damn near shit. He did the usual: "what are you doing stupid human?" look and then hauled ass. I got out of the water and drank a beer after that one...
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby John Hughes » August 24th, 2014, 7:59 am

super cool experience Smudge!! It's so cool that after all the years on the water we still get surprised by new experiences all the time. Glad you're enjoying it over there!
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Spearing Magazine » August 27th, 2014, 6:56 am

Very cool! The only ones we have had hang around seemed to be a bit "frisky"... Must have been mating season. That was NOT a cool experience.
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby Smudge » August 27th, 2014, 6:01 pm

Haha, you must just be dead sexy in the water. Dolphins don't have a mating season, they just get it on when they're feeling frisky! LOL
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Re: No fish, but a cool dolphin(mammal) experience.

Postby db1 » November 2nd, 2014, 8:47 pm

That's a cool story.

My wife had on get super "frisky" on her in the Straits if Gibraltar... from the sound of the story, I'm surprised I can satisfy her after what that thing did to her! ha. She said it was pretty hairy.
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