Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Blue Plate Special

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL
34 42.54 N 081 05.58 W


When we sit in a harbor for a long time things start growing on the bottom.   In fact, before leaving we'll have to hire a diver to clean the bottom.   In the picture above, you can see some of that stuff on the rudder just under the water line.

A new treat this winter is that there is a species of little fish that learned to graze on the garden of things growing on our bottom.   We call them bottom cleaning fish.  They're cute to watch.   Lately another adaptation occurred.  One of the dolphins in the harbor has learned that those little fish make good snacks and that the snack bar is at Tarwathie's bottom.   We should call it the Tarwathie Blue Plate Special.

This morning, Libby was on shore.  I heard a splash close by so I went out to look.  What I saw was that dolphin using his nose on the boat like a dog in another dog's butt.  He (she?) went back and forth, back and forth, port and starboard.   I grabbed my camera and leaned over the stern to watch (see the picture above).  After a while I could see that the little fish was doing his (her?) part to survive.  He used the little cutout hole between the hull and rudder to dodge from one side to the other.  It was like the little Jerry mouse evading the Tom Cat.   It was really fun to watch.  The dolphin switched sides perhaps two dozen times before giving up.

That doesn't mean the dolphin missed its breakfast.  After leaving Tarwathie, he moved to the yacht Holo Kai nearby.  He lifted their dinghy almost out of the water a couple of times, and finally swam away with a fish in his mouth.

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