Well, Tropical Storm Fay finally left us. She didn’t do any damage, but she did keep us off the boat for 5 whole days!! We were able to make up a bit of lost time with trips on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. We saw a few bottlenose dolphins, including the bottlenose pictured here, and lots of spotteds. I need to take some time, as always, to see if this is new mark on an “old” dolphin or if this is in fact a new animal for our catalog!
As for spotted dolphins, between Saturday & Sunday, we saw Buster (#04), Finn (#09), Romeo (#10), Lumpy (#17), Split Jaw (#22), White Blotch (#29 – with “Lil’ Dot?”), Lone Star (#56, with calf), Billy (#64) and un-named #25 (with calf), #57 (with calf?) and #84. On Saturday there were so many dolphins scattered about (some mating, some feeding, some traveling) that was near impossible to tell if there were 20 (minimum) or possibly as many as 50 dolphins in the area! It was unlike anything I had ever seen here in Bimini. Sunday was another large group (upwards of 20 animals) also scattered. There seemed to be one socializing/slow traveling group and one mating group...then the two mixed.
Sadly, yesterday marked the end of DCP’s official field season here in Bimini. I say this because there are currently no more dolphin trips on the books ;-( But, for the first time ever, DCP will have a researcher (me) year-round on Bimini. This will allow me to jump on any dolphin trips that do pop up! Hopefully this will allow us to slowly accumulate fall/winter/spring data on the dolphins here. I can’t wait to find out what (and who) we’ll see!
As always, I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the people of Bimini for their continued hospitality. In particular, I thank the folks at Bimini Undersea and Al Sweeting, Jr. who have generously provided us with invaluable boat time. Without them, DCP would not be able to complete our field work. Although the summer is Bimini’s high season, both companies do offer activities, including dolphin swims, in the off-season; so, check them out! Also, I thank all of the passengers I have met this season – your enthusiasm keeps me motivated to learn more about these wonderful creatures!
Until next time,