Thursday was quite a day for the DCP crew. We left at 11 a.m. to start our search for dolphins. We went on a smaller vessel this time as we only hadBIM13_T24_Salma two guests, visiting Australian photographers, with us as opposed to our earlier large group of high school students. It was a beautiful day, though a bit choppy out on the water, and we had high hopes of finding a group of dolphins early in the day....Six hours later we were still looking with absolutely no luck. What an eye opener for us interns; it is not always easy to find the dolphins and not all of our efforts are successful! Luckily, Captain Al and a fellow dolphin encounter vessel were in contact and they gave us a sighting tip. We headed in that direction and sure enough we found them! It was a group of eight with at least two calves, one of whom was the smallest Salma and Nicole had ever seen! They played in our bow for a little while and then slowed down enough for the photographers to get in the water with them for quite a while. After a good hour with the dolphins, we headed for home. We are so happy our almost-disappointing trip ended so well! We all arrived at the dock with smiles on our faces--and a bit of a sunburn for our interns! We learned and experienced so many new things on this trip. We can't wait until we get to do it again!

Until next time,

Nicole, Salma & Kel

Tuesday was a full day for DCP! We started off with a quick meeting, debriefing from yesterday. Then we headed to a Q&A session with the high school BIM13_T23_Ttstudents from yesterday’s & today’s dolphin trips. We introduced ourselves and DCP, then let the kids ask questions to their hearts' content; they were very eager and inquisitive and we answered the various questions that the kids threw at us. Topics varied from dolphins to sharks to just ocean preservation and conservation as a whole. The kids were really interested in learning all they could. We ended the almost two hour talk with some general college and course advice for the kids and how to learn more about the field of marine mammalogy. Then we ran back to get some lunch in us before we left on our afternoon dolphin trip.

Today was the second consecutive day we were able to go on the water! We started off the boat trip by going out to the Three Sisters, a popular snorkeling site on the island. While we did not see any dolphins there, we did see some really cool parrot fish, squirrel fish, and sergeant majors. We also admired all the pretty coral and sea fans.

After our snorkel, we hopped back on board to look for dolphins. We didn't look very long before we spotted some bottlenose dolphins. We observed them for a little while before we figured out that they were crater feeding, and so if we hoped they would let us observe them while they snacked. Watching the dolphins crater feed was absolutely amazing. When the dolphins dig their rostrums in the sand you can hear a maraca or rattlesnake-like sound, which is the sound of the sand being shifted around by the dolphins. If you look down at the sandy seafloor, it really looks like the surface of the moon with all the craters in there! We observed at least six dolphins total. A few seemed a bit shyer than the other dolphins, but for the most part they all stayed in the same general area. The dolphins also were engaged in some very social contact behaviors. We think we had a group of some fairly young dolphins on our hands. The interns think that they saw a mother-calf pair feeding, because two dolphins were seen in close proximity to one another for the majority of the encounter. It was unexpected to have had such wonderful experiences with the bottlenose dolphins two days in a row; regularly observing them is a treat, and so we were really thankful!

After that amazing experience, we hopped back on board and continued our search for some more dolphins. We happened by a group of four spotted dolphins, but like yesterday, they were doing their own thing, and so we weren't able to get in the water with them today. However, we did observe them from the boat for quite some time, and boy did they look playful! One dolphin was seen playing with a bundle of sargassum near the boat. It seemed to be getting really riled up, because its belly had a faint pink hue to it!

All in all, today was another great day out on the water and we can't wait to get back out there. Salma & Nicole seem to be getting the hang of recording data on the boat, and acquiring our sea legs!

Until next time,
Salma, Nicole & Kel

BIM13_T22_TtMonday was an exciting day for our new interns. After a few days spent settling into the island life and working on DCP data processing, we were able to go out on our first boat trip! We headed out with Bimini Adventures and once we were a good way from North Bimini we thought we had our first dolphin sighting! It turned out to be a shark, as Captain Al informed us later, but never fear, there is always more time to find some dolphins! A short time later, Captain Audley spotted (ha!) a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins playing in the water in the distance. We started to head over to the group and realized the dolphins were a bit scattered. A core group of four began swimming alongside the boat and riding the bow. Kel saw Speedy (#78) and Lil' Jess (#35) from her position at the front. There was also an older juvenile/young adult with them. And Lil' Jess was swimming with a calf! Kel saw a spot on the calf so maybe we can add it to our Atlantic spotted dolphin catalog by the end of the summer!

We traveled with these dolphins for some time but they did not seem very interested in waiting around for us to get in the water. It was also getting late, so we decided to change course and start to head toward home. We would of course keep looking for more dolphins on the way back. And we were lucky enough to find some! This was a group of bottlenose dolphins who did not seem to mind our presence in their area. All of the guests, Nicole and Salma got in the water, while Kel stayed aboard to get surface dorsal fin images. We thought the group was moving away from us but they stayed close for a bit! They swam by as a group and seemed to be checking us out as they did so One individual even swam over to Salma and Nicole who were able to get some great photos, like in this one! In a few of our photos you can see that at least one bottlenose dolphin had lots of spots on its belly! What an exciting find!

We all piled back on the boat with huge smiles on our faces and headed back to the dock. It was a great first day on the boat and we can't wait to do it again tomorrow!

Until then,

Nicole, Salma & Kel

Tuesday was a full day for DCP! We started off with a quick meeting, debriefing from yesterday. Then we headed to a Q&A session with the high school BIM13_T23_Ttstudents from yesterday’s & today’s dolphin trips. We introduced ourselves and DCP, then let the kids ask questions to their hearts' content; they were very eager and inquisitive and we answered the various questions that the kids threw at us. Topics varied from dolphins to sharks to just ocean preservation and conservation as a whole. The kids were really interested in learning all they could. We ended the almost two hour talk with some general college and course advice for the kids and how to learn more about the field of marine mammalogy. Then we ran back to get some lunch in us before we left on our afternoon dolphin trip.

Today was the second consecutive day we were able to go on the water! We started off the boat trip by going out to the Three Sisters, a popular snorkeling site on the island. While we did not see any dolphins there, we did see some really cool parrot fish, squirrel fish, and sergeant majors. We also admired all the pretty coral and sea fans.

After our snorkel, we hopped back on board to look for dolphins. We didn't look very long before we spotted some bottlenose dolphins. We observed them for a little while before we figured out that they were crater feeding, and so if we hoped they would let us observe them while they snacked. Watching the dolphins crater feed was absolutely amazing. When the dolphins dig their rostrums in the sand you can hear a maraca or rattlesnake-like sound, which is the sound of the sand being shifted around by the dolphins. If you look down at the sandy seafloor, it really looks like the surface of the moon with all the craters in there! We observed at least six dolphins total. A few seemed a bit shyer than the other dolphins, but for the most part they all stayed in the same general area. The dolphins also were engaged in some very social contact behaviors. We think we had a group of some fairly young dolphins on our hands. The interns think that they saw a mother-calf pair feeding, because two dolphins were seen in close proximity to one another for the majority of the encounter. It was unexpected to have had such wonderful experiences with the bottlenose dolphins two days in a row; regularly observing them is a treat, and so we were really thankful!

After that amazing experience, we hopped back on board and continued our search for some more dolphins. We happened by a group of four spotted dolphins, but like yesterday, they were doing their own thing, and so we weren't able to get in the water with them today. However, we did observe them from the boat for quite some time, and boy did they look playful! One dolphin was seen playing with a bundle of sargassum near the boat. It seemed to be getting really riled up, because its belly had a faint pink hue to it!

All in all, today was another great day out on the water and we can't wait to get back out there. Salma & Nicole seem to be getting the hang of recording data on the boat, and acquiring our sea legs!

Until next time,
Salma, Nicole & Kel

On Thursday we boarded the Coral Reef II to talk to a group of high school students who were doing a program with the Shedd Aquarium. While Kel was really the main attraction, Nicole and Salma were asked a couple of questions about colleges and majors/degrees. Kel gave a wonderfully animated presentation about the goals of DCP and the research that DCP conducts. The students asked lots of good questions about the dolphins, really showcasing their genuine interest and curiosity on the subject. We were on board for a little over two hours and the talk was really directed by the kids' questions, which was really impressive! The current became a little rough at times, which made Salma feel particularly queasy. In the end it turned out great! The kids all wrote down their emails to receive newsletters from DCP and we hoped on the dinghy back to shore.

Once back on shore, we had time to regain our land legs and to grab some lunch, and Salma and Nicole learned where to get water on the island. The interns then got to work analyzing some Bimini data for

social quality, something we are used to doing from our recent time at the DCP office. A few chunks on the tape proved to be quite challenging and a bit frustrating to sift through. There were dolphins on dolphins on dolphins and it became a bit strenuous on the eyes (and mind) to get a definitive sense of what was going on. But we made it to dinner and hopefully a new day will give us clearer eyes to analyze some more data!

We're really glad that we found a groove today, and we hope to keep up the work. Maybe next week we'll get to really test out the snorkeling skills that we've been practicing on the beach!

Until then,

Salma, Nicole & 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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