15 July 2017

Last full day with DCP guests!

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We woke up Thursday morning and immediately began working on some of our video logs and bottlenose ID. After knocking a large portion of our work out, we took a break for lunch and to get ready for the boat. Meanwhile, Kel and Nicole led a discussion this morning about ecotourism and the island with this week’s guests. We have had small exchanges about this topic, so it was nice to have a formal talk about this very important matter. We then made our way to the marina and boarded the boat. Unfortunately, today was our last day with this group and Nicole on board. Given the circumstances, we were hoping for a fantastic send-off for everyone’s last day. To the extreme delight of some, Captain Audley set our course straight to Triangle Rocks to swim with sharks! We made the short trip south and Captain Al prepped everyone on board for the encounter. Everyone got in the water and was greeted by an abundance of wildlife. There were a few Caribbean reef sharks, at least three nurse sharks, a sharpnose shark, huge brightly-colored parrotfish, and many other tropical fish around. After a few photo-ops with the sharks we got back on board and search for some dolphins. We headed back north, past the island, with our eyes peeled the whole way. A little over an hour later we saw our first dolphins! About three bottlenose popped up in front of us but they were travelling and focused on their mission. They weren’t the least bit interested in us, so we didn’t stick around too long. We continued on our way to find some spotted dolphins. As we searched, we got a little tip from another operator; they were in the water with three spotted dolphins, but the humans were heading home. This allowed us the opportunity to take their place, after a discussion about whether or not they thought the dolphins needed a break, which worked out well for everyone. We made our way there and shortly after we arrived, seven more joined in. We quickly got ready and hopped in the water. Among this group, which stuck around for over half an hour, were: Niecey (#48) and her calf, Leslie (#80), Paul (#99), and unnamed #108 and #112. They were very active, enjoying bowriding, surfing the waves, and jumping out of the water in groups. They eventually lost in interest in us, but it was time to head home anyway. I believe everyone agreed that this was a great send-off for their last day. We got back to the dock and said our goodbyes to the group. We’ll especially miss Nicole as both co-worker and friend! We learned so much from her, and her positive attitude made every day better. Thank you for all you have done for DCP and we will all miss having you around for the rest of the summer!

See you next week,

The Trio

Patrick, Kaiya, and Tori

Kelly Melillo Sweeting

Kel is DCP's Bimini Research Manager, and all around awesome scientist.

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Dolphin Communication Project
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