Bimini2010_LoggerheadHatchlingSaturday was our day off and we were once again surrounded by nature! Kel was awakened by a phone call, reporting that a loggerhead turtle nest was hatching! She raced to the beach to see how things were going and found at least a dozen tracks leading to the sea. As we began gently excavating the nest, we found some hatchlings were still digging their way out. Because of the human impacts to the beach, we carefully collected 11 turtles and placed them closer to the water line (but not too close as we were told they need to feel the temperature change of the sand as they approach the sea). It was amazing! After sunset, Janan and Cat helped with the night-release of those turtles that hatched in the daylight in a bucket. There were 15 baby sea turtles being released, and each of us was given a sea turtle to watch scuttle across the sand towards the ocean.  We got to hold them and put them in the dry sand and then we watched by starlight to make sure each one made it to the water. We are crossing our fingers that at least a few survive! 

Earlier in the day, Cat and Kel did something else out of the box; rather than swimming with the dolphins, we were swimming with the Caribbean reef sharks! There were four sharks gracefully swimming around the coral, seeming to ignoring our presence. Although every once in a while they would swim around us, perhaps to get a better view of the strange snorkelers that were swimming with them. It was a fantastic experience and it was wonderful to observe another aspect of Bimini’s oceans. It also fit well with DCP’s newest Squidoo page: Sharks and Dolphins. Click here to check it out! 

Until next time,

Cat, Janan & Kel

Bimini2010_SeahorseFriday morning we all headed out to the Coral Reef II again to share some information about DCP. This week, instead of high school students, we met with some teachers from the Chicago area. They were a great audience with lots of questions and we were all invited to stay for lunch to continue our discussions! (Thanks for the great meal and conversation!)  

In the afternoon we had a day off from dolphin trips. We headed out on the boat for a fun-filled afternoon of reading, swimming, free diving, and eating with several other families from the island. As we were driving the boat to our beach spot, we saw several manta rays in the shallow water just a few feet from the beach! A few of us jumped in the water to investigate; it was really cool to watch it filter feed in the water! We think there were three altogether. Later in the day one of the kids discovered two small seahorses in a small tuft of seagrass under water. Everyone got to free dive down and check them out. It was the first time we had ever seen seahorses in the wild! Even on a day off wildlife finds us!  

Until next time, Janan, Cat & Kel

Bimini2010_T58_Billy064Thursday we set off at about 15:20 on our last dolphin trip of the week. Everyone had a great time at the Bimini Road (aka Atlantis) for a nice snorkel and swim to cool off! Then we headed off to look for dolphins, and at about 17:00 we found them! We came across a large group of at least 10 spotted dolphins, including Finn (#09), Romeo (#10), Whiteblotch (#29), Lil Jess (#35), Speedy (#78), and 3 young calves. We jumped in for a swim and even more dolphins joined us including un-named #43. We eventually left the water because the dolphins were scattered around the boat feeding. We watched them feed from the boat for awhile, and then a bit later they started playing around the boat again so we got to try another swim! It was a FANTASTIC swim with lots of dolphins, including the dolphins from earlier plus SplitJaw (#22), Trudy (#57), Billy (#64, pictured here), Tim (#69), Tilly (#87), and un-named #91. They stayed with us for quite some time and even let us observe them mating! Finally everyone returned to the boat and the passengers celebrated with conch salad and rum punch on the ride home. Then, at about 19:00, we even had a quick glimpse of 2 bottlenose dolphins! What a great way to end a super week!  

Until next time,

Janan, Cat & Kel

BIM10_T57_YoungSfsWednesday was a great day for dolphins! As per usual we set out around 16:00 with another gorgeous sunny day. The winds were calm and right away we saw dolphins! Three bottlenose dolphins were in the distance, and eventually they came close to the boat so we could check them out. They didn’t seem interested in staying though, so we continued on towards the dolphin grounds, even skipping our snorkel stop! We were rewarded with another brief bottlenose sighting at about 17:00; just one lone dolphin (or so it appeared). Apparently it was leading us to other dolphins because lo and behold 5 minutes later we saw a large group of active spotted dolphins! They were jumping and leaping out of the water! Because the day was so calm and flat we could see them leap and splash far in the distance. Eventually we caught up to them and they really enjoyed riding our bow and leaping in the wake behind the boat. We saw Billy (#64), Speedy (#78), Tilly (#87), un-named #84, as well as 3 playful calves. The dolphins hung around for quite awhile and we had the chance to swim with them three times! The third time was a bit exciting because we were in a sea of jellyfish! The dolphins didn’t seem to have any problem with any of the jellies but we tried to give them their distance! After a great afternoon full of dolphins we finally had to head in under the setting sun. Let’s hope tomorrow is another fantastic day! 

Until next time,

Janan, Cat & Kel

Tuesday we set out on another beautiful, calm day! We headed out and went straight to the dolphin grounds. Passengers kept their eyes peeled, and finally at about 18:15 we saw spotted dolphins! Just two spotted dolphins were around today, including un-named #75 and another adult. After a bit of bow riding they headed off. Although we kept our fingers crossed to see more dolphins, none showed up for our sunset ride home. Hopefully we will see more tomorrow! 

Until next time,

Janan, Cat & Kel

BIM10_T55_SfCalf_CKochMonday we had beautiful weather for another dolphin trip. We headed out at around 16:00 with calm waters and the sun shining! The boat was full of passengers and we were all excited for some dolphins! And boy the day was a success! After a snorkel stop at “3 Sisters,” we headed into the dolphin grounds and soon after saw at least 6 bottlenose dolphins at about 17:30! We watched them for a bit, collecting dorsal fin photographs, and then headed off in search of spotteds. At about 18:40, we found a group of 10 spotted dolphins including Lone Star (#56), Trudy (#57), Stefran (#82) and several high-energy calves. The calves were jumping and leaping out of the water (see photo, taken by Cat). Everyone jumped in the water and had a quick swim with the dolphins. We followed them for awhile and tried one more swim but the dolphins swam off. However, on the way home they continued to bow ride with us! All in all it was a great day! 

Until next time,

Janan, Cat & Kel

Sunday started a new dolphin week with Nowdla Keefe. We left Bimini about 16:00 and headed out to sea. After a nice snorkel stop at “The Bimini Road” (aka “Atlantis”), we continued out towards the dolphin feeding grounds. Luckily the wind was much calmer than last week, so we were able to actually leave the coastal waters! Unfortunately, despite being able to travel further, we did not see any dolphins. But at the end of the trip there was a small rainstorm over Bimini and we did see two beautiful rainbows right at sunset! We are crossing our fingers for dolphins tomorrow! 

Until next time,

Janan, Cat & Kel

Thursday our dolphin trip was unfortunately canceled due to bad weather. However, we interns out Thursday morning and for two SCUBA dives with Bimini Undersea! Our first dive was at “Little Caverns”, a 70ft dive. Cat and Janan were buddies and enjoyed swimming around the large rocky clumps of coral. We especially liked seeing the lionfish! Even if they are pests (and invasive species), they sure look cool! Our second dive was at “The Strip”, which we both really enjoyed. It was a shallower dive to 40ft, and the visibility was great. We saw tons of fish in little schools, two moray eels, and even a small nurse shark! We will be sure to go out again as soon as we can! 

It has been super windy all week and Friday was more of the same – plus some. The storm that was brewing in the area meant very few boats were braving the ocean. While we waited out Tropical Storm Bonnie, we interns got our first taste of Bimini video logging! We went over some video footage with Kel and learned how she does it here. It is a little different from what we were working on RIMS video data in CT, but we got the hang of it. Identifying the dolphins is totally different though. It is tricky to get used to comparing their spot patterns, but hopefully we will keep improving our skills. The afternoon was spent doing data analysis and working on a new Squidoo page. Both of us are working on the webpage, which is about the importance of sharks and dolphins in a healthy ecosystem (we’ll let you know when it’s published!). Cat has been working on identifying photos of bottlenose dolphin dorsal fins, and Janan has been entering all the trip logs into the computer. We are all hoping for good weather and lots of successful dolphin trips next week! 

Until next time,

Janan, Cat & Kel

Tuesday we were unable go on a dolphin trip because it was so windy! All the trees on the island looked like they were growing horizontal; not a good sign for a boat ride. Wednesday began earlier than usual as we met with students from the Shedd Aquarium’s High School Marine Biology program. The students had just seen a group of 7 bottlenose dolphins and were ready with lots of great questions. It was wonderful to spend the morning with such excited, young scientists. Later in the afternoon, we headed out hoping the wind would be a bit more forgiving, and luckily it was slightly better. We set out at about 16:00, but again had to stay close to shore since it was still pretty blustery. At about 17:40 we saw a turtle coming up to breathe! He seemed able to brave the waves. Unfortunately, the turtle was the only animal we saw today. Despite everybody’s positive thinking and binoculars, no dolphins were observed today. Hopefully tomorrow they will all be out to say hello! 

Until next time,

Janan, Cat & Kel

Bimini2010_T52_TtIf we thought yesterday was windy, Mother Nature gave a new sense of perspective! Monday was windier and the waves were larger. The passengers aboard the boat were great sports and kept smiles on their faces throughout the trip. After a bumpy start at 16:30, we made it out of the harbor and braved the coastal waters in search of dolphins. Unfortunately due to the wind, we couldn’t go out very far so we did lots of slow loops along the length of Bimini. After lots of patience and a thorough soaking, we saw 3 bottlenose dolphins at about 18:40 riding the waves. They did some bow riding but today even our boat couldn’t compare to the size of the natural waves. They gave us a good show, surfing waves in unison. Once we lost sight of them, we headed home wet and happy.  

Until the next trip,

Janan, Cat & Kel

Bimini2010_T51_BusterSunday began another week of dolphin trips with Bill & Nowdla Keefe. We set out at about 16:00 with the sun shining, the wind blowing and passengers eager to see dolphins! Everyone picked a spot on the boat and held on as we rode the waves in search of dolphins. We had a nice snorkel stop at “3 Sisters”, and then continued our dolphin search. We hoped that the dolphins would stay close to Bimini since it was so blustery. Not only were they close to shore, but they even found us! At 17:35 10 spotted dolphins rode the waves to join our party, and at 17:40 we hopped in the water to join them! We had a good swim with several individuals, including Buster (#04), Finn (#09), Romeo (#10), Trudy (#57), Billy (#64), and un-named calf #91. Kel was unable to join Cat and Janan with the MVA because of the rough conditions, but we managed to get some pictures during the swim, including this one of Buster (#04, top dolphin). Eventually the dolphins headed off, probably to continue surfing the waves as we humans headed back in to shore. Luckily the ride back wasn’t quite so rough!  

Until the next windy trip,

Janan, Cat & Kel

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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