For many years EIC students have been exploring our coastal waters in search of dolphins. In the Science department we have probably now run a dozen or more trips to try to track them. And how do we get on? Are there plenty of dolphins out there? The answer is both yes and no!
There are days when they are everywhere and others when they are nowhere to be seen.
This year we took our KS3 students out on three successive dolphin watching expeditions from Benalmádena and, unfortunately, the dolphins didn't show!
Where had all the dolphins gone?
At the heart of the matter were the fish on which the dolphins feed. Sometimes they swim close to the shore and at other times they swim far out to sea. And, of course, the dolphins not wanting to go without dinner, go out with them.
We also learned that a good way to find dolphins is to look for the fishing boats that are in the business of catching the same species as those on the dolphins' menu. It is, after all, a lot easier to see a boat than a fin, or tail, or breaching dolphin!
The phytoplankton plants do something else that is amazing. They turn light into food! Light is a kind of energy, and so is food which contains chemical energy.
The whole story is so wonderful that it is hard to believe that it is true. Through one link, of that
chain to another, we can see energy flowing all the way from the plants to the dolphins and through the little fish and other creatures in between. Then it becomes possible to imagine a dolphin in a completely new way: it is an animal built from sunlight!
After chasing dolphins out at sea, our students visited the Butterfly Park in Benalmádena. Here, expert guides told them about the various tropical butterflies which were flying around everywhere. They were also encouraged to take part in a photography competition. At the moment we are gathering the photographs submitted by the students and there are some really great photos. Judging winners is going to be a tough job!