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Dolphin Watching Aboard the R/V Hudson
by -- May 8th, 2010

Stern view

Stern view

A spin up the Newport River a ways, accompanied by maybe a dozen dolphins.

One of the morning activities was a two-hour cruise aboard the Research Vessel Susan Hudson. Captain Lanier Mitchum and mate Dana Gillikin deftly negotiated the shifting sandbars of the Newport River to show us a couple of spots where small pods of dolphins were just sort of hanging out.

They weren’t leaping like the trained ones, and it took a sharp eye sometimes to pick out their dorsal fins and gleaming skin as they surfaced to breathe on a windy, choppy day, but we saw lots of them. (a good picture with my easy-cam was out of the question, sorry.)

Dolphin researcher Kim Urian (in the Duke shirt) provided running commentary and facts and figures through this slick wireless system. Everybody on the boat had an earbud, and could hear her where ever we were on board.

She also showed off her collection of photos from dolphin research which show distinctive markings and scars to tell the animals apart. Kim said there were 1,000 to 1,500 dolphins in the waters along the NC and SC coast.

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