Humble Bundle has just launched its End of Summer Sale! DCP has the opportunity to benefit until the sale ends on September 22nd. Simply head to Humble Bumble and 5% of your purchase will support DCP!
There are thousands of games offered on the Humble Store with sales happening every day. And, when you buy a cross-platform game, you get a version for each available OS. Buy. Support DCP. Play. Yay!
Daisy Kaplan has been studying the behavior of dolphins and whales for over a decade. She completed her Master’s degree at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where she studied juvenile social interactions among wild spotted dolphins in White Sand Ridge, Bahamas, while leading ecotourist groups for Oceanic Society. She then served as a researcher and naturalist for The Whale Center of New England, studying the behavior of humpback whales. Her PhD work looked at the acoustic characteristics and contextual use of whistles in sympatric species of wild bottlenose and spotted dolphins in Bimini, The Bahamas. Her current area of study is in communication and the use of biphonation in dolphins. She is a Professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland.
During her Master's research, Daisy collaborated with Kathleen; Daisy's relationship with DCP strengthened as she began utilizing Bimini for her Ph.D. work. As our collaborations grew, it became more and more apparent that we are better together! We look forward to more joint publications and education programs as well as a general cooperative interaction that means more data collection and more project results!
The vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus) is considered by many to be the rarest and most-endangered species of marine mammal in the world. in May 2016, the population size of the vaquita is considered to be 60, based on the results of a 2015 vessel survey and acoustic study. It is the smallest of only seven species of true porpoises, and is the only one that lives in warm waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is found in a tiny area in the extreme northern Gulf of California, near Baja California, Mexico.
According to Viva Vaquita!, only an immediate and total ban on gillnets in the entirety of the vaquita's range can save it from extinction. Learn more at www.vivavaquita.org.
Viva Vaquita was selected as the first recipient of DCP's Pay It Forward for Conservation initiative: First, one of DCP’s board members will commit to a financial contribution directly to that organization. Second—and this is the fun part for you—DCP will also commit to telling the story of that organization to all of you, to build awareness about immediate conservation issues, and to build partnerships among organizations with shared goals.
(Vaquita content, including photograph taken by Tom Jefferson, copied with permission from Viva Vaquita.)
Though I hope to be on a few day trips later this month, Monday was my last scheduled dolphin trip of 2016. And, it was a great one! We departed shortly after 1500 and with a tip from another operator, we spent extra time searching an area right at the edge of the shallow and deep waters. At 1619 we were rewarded with bottlenose dolphins! We observed them from the surface for nearly 20 minutes (and saw a group of spotted dolphins nearby!). Confident the group of at least six dolphins was in fact crater feeding, I continued to collect dorsal fin photographs while the guests entered the water. After two more rounds of photos, I too entered the water, eager to record the feeding behaviors. I completed one focal follow - of a mother/calf pair - when I heard the crew calling us back. A squall was threatening and we needed to be safely aboard the boat. Once on the boat it was so obvious how much the wind had picked up; when we started the swim, the ocean was calm and smooth, now there were white caps everywhere!
We stayed in the general area while we waited to see what the weather was going to do. Luckily, the squall fell apart and we were able to continue our search. Soon we were with at least 11 Atlantic spotted dolphins! Two of the juveniles were also observed on Sunday; it is always nice to see dolphins two days in a row. We all got in the water and were not disappointed! The dolphins cruised past everyone in the group and put on a nice show for those who stayed on the boat. And though it may be hard to believe, I'm actually interested in the dolphins ignoring me and letting me film them interacting with each other. Today was not one of those days! Two youngsters in particular seemed most interested in seeing how well I could keep up with their circles (or, were they trying to get me dizzy?!). I have to admit, it was pretty fun and of course, we can still get useful information from the video data.
Tuesday was a day off for me and then Wednesday I had the pleasure of holding my formal-casual weekly DCP talk with the guests. Conversation never stalled! Thank you to everyone for your wonderful questions, insights and for your support of DCP.
The Bimini Adventures guests have three more trips ahead of them - good luck!
Until next time,
Sunday began the final dolphin week of Bimini Adventures' 2016 season. Though it was strange to prep for a boat trip without Nicole, I was happy to meet the new guests and search for dolphins in calm seas. About 45 minutes into the trip, the guests had their first swim break, giving them an opportunity to test their snorkel gear, practice getting on and off the boat and generally acclimate themselves to Bimini's waters. It was not long after this that I saw a splash. It was far, but it was big and soon crewman Michael saw it too. We guided Al toward the splash and soon everyone was seeing a leaping young dolphin - man, this dolphin was getting some serious height!
The Atlantic spotted dolphins were scattered in an atypical way. It seemed like they were snacking on something and showed little interest in the boat. So, we waited for quick glimpses and big leaps, enjoying it all. Eventually, six dolphins came together and though they weren't interested in typical bowriding, we were able to watch them for quite a long time. They were not part of the long-time Bimini community, so may be dolphins from the Grand Bahama group who are now frequently seen off Bimini. Briefly, another, small dolphin watching boat distracted the dolphins, but after the boat departed we rejoined the group. They made two direction changes and suddenly, there were lots more dolphins! Al counted at least 14 as I joined the guests in the water. First Noodle (#94) swam by the camera, then Speedy (#78) (I think!) and Split Jaw (#22), plus several others that I didn't know at first glance. It was a wonderful way to wrap up the day!
Until next time,
Thursday was the final boat trip for this week's Bimini Adventures group. It was also Nicole's last boat trip of the season so we were very optimistic that it was going to be a good one! The weather was on our side and the guests saw true, Bimini sunshine for the first time. After a quick stop at "The Bimini Road," it was a mere 10 minutes before we saw spotted dolphins! The group of over 15 dolphins included Romeo (#10, still associating with a calf, yay!), Freckles (#15), Stefran (#82, also with a calf), un-named #75, Paul (#99) and possibly Niecey (#48). After a short swim with the large group, we observed a slightly smaller subset, including Stefran and Paul, as well as two youngsters practicing their aerial skills. It was a great finale day to the week and we really enjoyed being welcomed by this great group!
Thursday night we indulged in a work-free dinner, but Friday morning it was (nearly) all business. Coordinating data files and tidying Nicole's apartment, we were both wishing Nicole was only going home for the weekend! But, she'll be super busy back at school, prepping her new Master's project!
Next week is the final dolphin week of 2016. Wonder what it will bring?!
Kel & Nicole
As you may have noticed, DCP has been expanding and growing, with our mission statement reaching farther than ever before. DCP has been fortunate to gain the support and interest of so many people, which was evidenced in our recent matching fundraiser in June—surpassing our fundraising goal of $2,000 by more than 15%! Feeling so grateful about the support received, DCP has decided to give back in its own way. To that end, DCP has started a new program to pay it forward to a conservation organization in two ways. First, one of DCP’s board members will commit to a financial contribution directly to that organization. Second—and this is the fun part for you—DCP will also commit to telling the story of that organization to all of you, to build awareness about immediate conservation issues, and to build partnerships among organizations with shared goals. We hope this will be an annual event that we will all look forward to!
Everything in the ocean is connected. As such, supporting worthwhile conservation efforts outside our own will continue to drive DCP’s mission to promote the scientific study of dolphins and inspire their conservation.
The first recipient organization for DCP’s Pay It Forward for Conservation initiative is ¡Viva Vaquita! Stay tuned for a blog post featuring the vaquita!
Monday was a busy, busy day on Bimini! We left the house early, shuttling dog crates and supplies to the ferry; we carried them to South Bimini so we could meet the rest of the team and head up to Resorts World Bimini...oh, wait. We're getting ahead of ourselves, aren't we?
Long story short, Kel is a regular volunteer at local vet clinics and with efforts to get island strays into foster and forever homes. So, when word about some stray dogs and puppies on RWB's property reached us about two weeks ago, we began spending all our free time visiting with the dogs and coordinating their rescue. Backed by the Humane Society of Grand Bahama (HSGB) and Island Paws Rescue (IPR), we joined forces with other local volunteers and RWB employees to capture five adult dogs and eight puppies. The adults headed to HSGB this afternoon; the puppies will head to Fort Lauderdale tomorrow. You can see these dogs on Facebook at The Stray Dogs of Bimini. If anyone is interested in adopting one of these Bimini sweethearts, please contact IPR!
While Nicole stayed on dog-rescue-duty (even during a downpour!), Kel prepped for and headed out on the day's dolphin trip. With my rain jacket on for most of the trip, I enjoyed chatting with guests as we dodged squalls and searched the seas. It wasn't looking promising as we began to head to shore having seen little more than rain drops and small waves. Suddenly, a guest spotted dolphins behind us! We headed that way and, knowing that sunset wasn't far off, we hopped in the water quickly. First, it was two youngsters swirling around the divers. Soon, Tina (ID#14 and yes, still pregnant!) joined, giving Kel and the other guests some good, close looks. She periodically interacted with the youngsters as they swam ahead and then back to us, ahead, to the boat and back to us again. It was a wonderful swim and watching the pure joy and amazement on the guests' faces afterwards was incredible.
As we cruised the rest of the way home, we all soaked in the gorgeous sunset, only to turn around to a phenomenal rainbow (double on one side!) arching over Bimini. What a day!
Though the weather forecast continues to be challenging, we're pretty optimistic and grateful after today.
Until next time,
Kel & Nicole