Bahamas 2000

Latest Newsletter!

The latest issue of The Dolphin Gazette - V21no2 - is ready for you! Click here to download your copy and read all about the start to our Bimini field season, our great team of interns and volunteers, data analysis and opportunities to join us in the field.

It's going to be a great summer!!

Day of dolphins – without dolphins

Wednesday started pretty busy on Bimini! I packed my bag and headed to WildQuest to give a dolphin talk to their guests. A big thank you to the WildQuest family not only for the invitation, but also for the wonderful company, stories and questions. And, it was an honor to share mine with you! 

After a quick check-in at home, it was off to the Juliet for the second talk of the day. This time, I chatted with visiting high school students from the Sarasota, FL area. With the breeze whizzing through the door and the large vessel slowly swaying, I told the students about DCP, our research methods and dolphins in general. I hope they enjoyed the little session of school – thanks to the whole Juliet family for having me! 

I parked myself at the Bimini Big Game Club to grab a fast (yes – it was fast!) lunch and get a little computing done before the 1500 dolphin trip. While inhaling my food, I got the message that the trip was not to be – that nice breeze that kept me cool on the Juliet was also keeping the boat at the dock. I’m sure the students were disappointed, but I hope they value the lesson in the realities of field work and enjoy looking back on the amazing dolphin observations they have had. 

We’re staying positive, hoping for a trip tomorrow, but the forecast doesn’t look good. We’re keeping our fingers crossed! 

Until then,

 

Kel 

Thank you, Bahamas Bucket List for Divers, Bimini Edition!

True to his word, Captain Nate Riley has just donated proceeds from pre-orders of his awesome book, Bahamas Bucket List for Divers, Bimini Edition, to DCP! We know all his readers are going to love the book - including us!

Thank you so much to Captain Nate and everyone who purchased this great dive guide!

You can order your copy of Bahamas Bucket List of Divers, Bimini Edition here!

Why helllllllo, dolphins!

On Saturday, Daisy and the visiting students headed out in search of dolphins, but unfortunately came up empty. That didn’t diminish anyone’s spirits as we headed out again on Sunday. About an hour into the trip we saw a group of 13 dolphins; I recognized quite a few, but suspect they were the “transplants” from the northern Bahamas. We had nice surface and underwater observations of this group before they took off abruptly. 

Once we were back onboard the boat, we resumed our search and soon we were with 5 of the previous group of 13. It seemed the juveniles had split off from the others and we once again were able to observe them under water. It’s so much fun to see the students experience swimming with wild dolphins for the first time!

We left this group after their interest in us seemed to dwindle. As we searched for different dolphins, we got a quick visit from a lone bottlenose. Everyone got a good look before we resumed course. Just before 1800, we saw another small group of spotted dolphins. This time, only one mother/calf pair stuck around, but it was Tina (#14) and her calf, so I was thrilled! We got a nice swim with them (new photos for DCP’s ID catalog, woo-who!) and then a final swim for the day with a Tina & calf and two other youngsters….and somewhere in there was Prince William (#64). I wonder if we’ll get any other IDs when we look over the photos and video. Hmmmm… 

Until next time,

Kel 

 

PS: Does searching for and observing wild dolphins sound fun to you? We’ve got a few spaces remaining on our (last minute!) Bimini Research Experience (aka eco-tour): 2 – 7 July 2017. $1875 for 5 nights’ accommodation (dbl occ), 5 dolphin trips, all meals, taxes, rental snorkel gear and DCP talks. Email us to sign up now! Info{at}dcpmail{dot}org

Would you like waves with that?

On Wednesday morning, I joined the SMCM students once again, this time for a lecture & practical on photo-identification. It’s just about my favorite topic to discuss! The students were engaged and knowledgeable and I hope they came away with good info and introductory photo-ID skills to utilize for the rest of the course. Unfortunately, wind conditions were even worse on Wednesday & Thursday, so boat trips were postponed. 

Friday brought us all back to the “Renegade,” eager to conquer the still blowing wind and find some dolphins! We didn’t have to wait long before eyeing a likely mother/calf pair. Though I didn’t recognize the mother, I’m hoping I got a good enough shot of her back to match her to the catalog. Her back was all I’ll have to work with, as this pair – and the 3rd dolphin who joined them briefly – didn’t stick around for us to observe them under water. 

We continued our search closer to the island, since the seas were too rough to allow for any underwater observations. But, we didn’t see any other dolphins. It was still great to see another mother/calf pair, and it was really fun to listen to the students and their enthusiasm over seeing the little one! 

Until next time,

Kel 

PS: We are still have a few open spaces for our 2 – 7 July 2017 Bimini Research Experience (aka Eco-Tour). If you are interested, email us at info{at}dcpmail{dot}org!

Back on the bo-oat, again!

On Tuesday, I joined DCP Research Associate J. Daisy Kaplan and her field course from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. First, I gave the students a crash course in underwater still photography, showing them how to use & care for DCP’s still cameras and what to aim for when taking photographs intended for photo-ID. I could tell it is a great group of students! 

Despite the heavy rain that came down during the camera orientation, the Bimini Adventures boat left on schedule, soon after 1500. We knew the conditions were windier than we’d like, but everyone was optimistic nonetheless. We search and searched. Finally, we were rewarded with a bottlenose dolphin! Who promptly disappeared. Well, at least we were all re-energized as we continued our search. 

Closer to the island, we received a tip that spotteds were nearby. We looked and looked and saw nothing but waves. Suddenly, the dolphins were right there! It was a dozen Atlantic spotted dolphins, of varying ages, including Stefran (#82), Swoosh (#36) and a known, but un-catalogued (long story) older male. The dolphins were surfing about, with lots of direction changes and general coming together/going apart behaviors. With a small group of dolphins seemingly slowing down and sticking around, we got in the water. 

Because of some MVA difficulties, I got a rare chance to collect still photographs – what fun! We confirmed three dolphins: un-named #101 (female), a young juvenile female (perhaps to be added to the catalog?!) and that pesky un-catalogued older male that I had seen from the boat. Now maybe we finally have enough images of that guy to add him to the catalog. So, even though there were “only” three dolphins in the group, there will be plenty of ID data to process. 

This group is here through 25 May – so stay tuned for lots of updates! 

Until next time,

Kel

Back in the classrooms again!

Well, it had been quite a few years, but I finally had the opportunity to visit several classrooms at Bimini’s public schools today! First up was a small group of 9th, 10th and 11th graders – those who weren’t busy in national exams at the time – at Louise McDonald High School in Alice Town. They were a lively group; at times, it seemed, they were trying to embarrass me with shall we say, certain, dolphin questions. Little did they know the topic of my Master’s thesis included a lot of dolphin mating and I do not embarrass easily when talking about dolphin science! I enjoyed their enthusiasm! Next up were 7th graders who may have been a bit sleepier, but were respectful and engaged in the presentation. I snuck in a quick lunch at CJs deli (a rarity for me these days!) before cycling over to the Bimini Primary School. I soon found myself in a room full of rowdy 5th and 6th graders – yikes! They were quick to offer suggestions to my questions, very interested in whether or not dinosaurs were around when I was in school and concerned about the role of sharks in dolphins’ lives. Though they were the noisiest of my groups today, I do hope they took away some good information about the dolphins that live right in their backyard. Inspiring local children – and adults – to care about their local environment and the animals that make their homes here is so very important. Thank you to the principals, teachers and students who made today’s talks possible.

These presentations were somewhat last minute, so I wasn’t armed with a camera (darn!). So, here’s a throwback photo from a visit to the now closed Bimini Catholic School in September 2004! These kids are in college now – whoa! 

The field season here in Bimini really ramps up next week. So stay tuned for lots of field reports! 

Until then,

Kel

New Opportunity: 2017 Volunteer Field Experience (VFE)

For the first time ever, DCP is accepting two Volunteer Field Experience Participants (VFEPs) to join our Bimini, The Bahamas field site from 12 - 24 June 2017. VFEPs will get a jam-packed experience, learning about DCP's data collection, data entry and data analysis procedures. With supervision by experienced DCP researchers, VFEPs will contribute directly to DCP's research and education efforts while getting a taste of the research life for themselves. The fee for this experience is $500 which covers lodging, utilities and drinking water. Transportation (generally by air) to Bimini and food while on Bimini are not included. Spaces will be filled on a rolling-basis, so we recommend getting your application in as soon as possible. To apply, please complete our internship application, however only the following supplemental materials are required: cover letter, resume and one (1) letter of recommendation.

Questions? Email us at info{at}dcpmail{dot}org.

New Adoption Video is Ready!

It's that time of year again! All adopt-a-wild-dolphin orders going forward will receive the latest underwater footage from Bimini. A big thank you to John Anderson of Terramar Productions for his help!

Remember - hard copy kits ($35) receive a DVD and electronic kits ($30) receive a link to the latest video.

So, adopt (or renew!) a dolphin today!

Bahamas Bucket List for Divers, Bimini Edition

From pirates to modern-day drug runners, expert scuba diver and long-time sailor Capt. Nathan (Nate) Riley will take you on a journey dating back 300 years. During surface intervals, you will take a closer look at how the Bahamas and Bimini famously came to be. Expect to be immersed in the island’s history, culture, and soul.

Flip to the second half of the book to build your personal Bahamas Bucket List. Relive your dive memories time and time again while checking off sites from your dive log. Each dive site listed is accompanied by first-hand facts and experience from a Captain who has dived the area almost daily for 15 years.

Cpt. Nate is generously donating the proceeds of the first 500 copies sold to DCP! We cannot thank Cpt. Nate enough for his generosity, and for showcasing the dolphins off Bimini, and DCP, in his fantastic dive guide.

Click here to learn more about Cpt. Nate and his book - and of course, order your signed copies!

Or, head to Amazon to order unsigned copies.

Contact Us

Write to us via snail-mail at:

Dolphin Communication Project
P.O. Box 7485
Port St. Lucie, FL, 34985
USA

Email us:

info {at} dcpmail {dot} org

THE DOLPHIN COMMUNICATION PROJECT CHARITABLE SOLICITATION NUMBER CH42894, MEETS ALL REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIED BY THE FLORIDA SOLICITATION OF CONTRIBUTIONS ACT.  A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, OR 850-410-3800 WHEN CALLING OUTSIDE THE STATE.  REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.

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