BIM11_T73_BusterID04Friday began with a farewell to the remaining two DCP summer interns. Alexis & Sabena departed Bimini this morning and I’m already missing their assistance! For me, I had to prep for an afternoon dolphin trip – it seemed the skies were finally going to stay clear. Well, not only did the skies stay clear, but the seas relaxed to a wonderful calm state. We departed Sea Crest Hotel & Marina shortly after 15:00 and were pleased to be in the company of Atlantic spotted dolphins within an hour. At first it was at least a dozen individuals, with Buster (ID#04) stealing the show. His repeated leaps kept all of our camera shutters going.

Over the course of the afternoon we had several opportunities to observe the dolphins underwater and followed various individuals until nearly 19:00. The dolphins became quite scattered, but I was able to identify Romeo (#10), Tina (#14), Lumpy (#17), Trudy (#57) and possibly Freckles (#15) and un-named #70, in addition to Buster. During one underwater encounter, we observed an adult and two youngsters playing with a box fish! It was a great show! As always a big thank you to the guests – their enthusiasm was contagious!

More dolphin trips next week,
Kel

The DCP team split up between two boat trips again on Tuesday. It has been so exciting to be able to collect data on two different boats on the same day this year! Kel left the dock early at 11:17 and although no dolphins were sighted, the passengers were able to enjoy a sunny day at sea and a couple of swim breaks. As soon as the group returned to the dock, Al and Kel turned right back around to make another attempt at retrieving the SM2M PAM device. Previous attempts were thwarted by strong currents. This time, we timed the current just right and had beautiful visibility, but we were working against the clock with an impending squall on the horizon. We got the unit onboard the boat, pulled anchor and departed the site just in time – and by just in time, we mean the seas had already kicked up, the sky was very threatening, but we managed to beat the rain. The same cannot be said for the interns…
 
BIM11_T71_Sf_C3Sabena and Alexis left the dock just as Kel returned the first time. Three spotted dolphins were sighted very early in the trip! The small group stuck around, surfing the waves while we geared up for an underwater encounter. The dolphins were energetic and interactive and they seemed to be enjoying our company as much as we were enjoying theirs! The thrilling encounter was cut short when the captain suddenly called us to the boat, and we realized there was a massive rain storm looming just over us! It is very easy to become distracted when swimming with dolphins. Luckily Alexis had the chance to gather video data while Sabena managed to snap several still photos of the dolphins for identification, including a photo of this juvenile. The passengers quickly got back on the boat as we rushed back to North Bimini attempting to beat the wind and rain. The winds picked up quickly and the rain began to pour making for a memorable return to the island. The dolphins took advantage of their chance to surf and play in the large waves and seemed to be having a lot of fun. A group of four spotted dolphins were sighted following our boat on our way back. Although the trip was cut short and we were tossed around a little by the waves, it was quite an adventure!

Until next time,
Sabena, Alexis & Kel

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