Days with the Dolphins – Days on the Sea
Sunday, 27 September 2015
Days on the Sea
Most of the time we stayed on the boat and conducted survey through line transect method, so as to estimate the population of Chinese White Dolphin and Finless Porpoise in Hong Kong waters. When we got a sighting, we had to estimate the group size, identify group composition and behaviours of the dolphins, as well as taking photos or videos for later identification. Apart from practising the sighting skills, I also broadened my knowledge in geography and navigation aspects. In truth, lots of things happened every day on the boat, and the feelings from my heart were so strong and complicated, making it so hard for me to put them into words. I was not a person good at explaining myself; however, I tried to write daily journals to remember all the stories that happened. For the first time I saw a porpoise when I was using a pair of binoculars scanning the sea, I screamed out loud, got so excited, but the porpoise was so shy that it just showed up for a few seconds; For the first time I heard the whirring noise of the flying fishes, they passed by our boat group by group, with a sense of joy and freedom; For the first time I smelled the taste of dried shrimps, laying on the fishing boat closely passed by us, and the fishermen were skilfully handling them under the sunny weather; For the first time I did snorkeling in Ung Kong Wan, a beautiful place to visit at the south of Sai Kung Peninsula, and Leon showed me a White ribbon eel beside the corals; For the first time I felt like I belong to the sea, looking at the dolphins and hearing them singing the most touching songs, I wished I could jump off the boat and swim with them. I wanted to thank Viena, Taison, Leon, Vincent and Samuel for giving me such joyful moments and teaching me lots of things more than I could have imagined. The other two interns, Sam and Kar Long, were passionate partners. I could still remember the smiling eyes on Sam’s face when she saw a dolphin, and her sadden face when we talked about the coastal development destroying their habitat. At the same time, I was impressed that Vincent could distinguish the dolphin individuals at a glance, and I really appreciated the generosity of Captain Chan, that when I was exhausted on the boat he always gave me something to eat or drink. The boating life was really tough, and we had to stay focused even when the beaufort scale was greater than three. We got roasted under the burning sun, got soaked in the crying rain, and got blown by the howling winds for many times. Nevertheless, I believed every cloud has a silver lining, and the unpredictable sea always gave us some surprises. When we got to see the dolphins jumping out freely from the sea, we smiled from the deepest part of our hearts.
Posted by Hilary Wong