Check out the latest news from DCP, including field reports filed by our researchers busy doing science at one of our many research sites.

Quiet Days

After getting a feel for what the educational talks were like on Tuesday, I was extremely excited for our talk Wednesday morning on the Shedd Aquarium boat. As a Chicago native, I was raised going to the Shedd- I even brought my favorite Shedd hat to Bimini! Nat and I woke up early to make some breakfast and coffee before meeting up with Kelly and jumping on the skiff to head to Coral Reef 2 (CRII). CRII was an absolutely gorgeous boat and all the kids were super excited to have us on board. After Kelly’s talk, the high school students turned to Nat and I and asked us about how we got the internship and if we have any…

Bullsharks, and Bottlenose, and Spotteds, Oh My!

This past Tuesday was another great day on the island! Frankie has been settling in well as the newest intern and has already grown accustomed to island life (cockroaches and all). We have grown to become quite the intern team, and she has already grasped the ropes of all the data processing, photo sorting, and data entry that goes on behind the scenes at the DCP. On Tuesday we helped Kel give a small presentation/ discussion to the guests at the Sea Crest. They were all so interested in the dolphins that live just off this coast, and they all loved to learn the names of the dolphins we have in the DCP catalog. We listened as Kel explained how…

Island Home

Monday was my fifth day on the island and I feel completely at home. So far, I have biked to get my groceries, seen a bull shark and stingray from the dock, and killed two cockroaches. Nat taught me how to enter data from different trips and tricks on how to ID bottlenose and spotted dolphins from pictures. After spending a few days doing computer work, it was finally time to have my first boat trip and get in on the action. Even though we weren’t getting on the boat till 3, I woke up at 6 am ready to go. I got some work done, was given a tour of the boat, and then began prepping for our trip.…

Did Somebody Say... Bow Rides?

Saturday sure was a busy day! It was the last day that we got to join Behind the Mask out on the Sea Crest boat for fun dolphin searching. The day before I was able to finally meet the new intern, Frankie, and help her get acquainted with Bimini. I’m so excited to get to work with her and show her all the ropes of the DCP! I think Captain Al can agree when I say, we got extremely lucky about the boat traffic on Saturday’s boat adventures. It was a little crowded getting out of the harbor, but once we were out searching for dolphins, there wasn’t a boat in sight! What were in sight were two dolphins! Within…

Welcome to Bimini, Frankie!

Summer intern Nat and I are thrilled to welcome DCP’s 2nd 2018 Short Field Experience Intern to Bimini! Frankie arrived on Friday and will be doing some blog writing over the next ~2 weeks. While Frankie was busy with flights, a “bus” and a water taxi, Nat lead the surface data collection mission with the Behind the Mask team and Bimini Adventures. During the sunny trip, she was able to ID Tina (#14) and her distinct calf, Split Jaw (#22), Inka (#93) and Sulfur (#102). I’m super proud of Nat for recognizing those dolphins on her own! Now, enjoy Frankie’s first impression of Bimini! Cheers, Kel Waking up at 3 am to start my travel day from Chicago to Bimini…

Flaaaaaaat Seas

On Thursday, we were once again able to join the Behind the Mask team in their search for dolphins off Bimini. You may have caught their story on Facebook announcing their project here…..drum roll…. They are filming free divers using “Seabob” scooters while swimming with dolphins! It’s been very interesting to watch – sometimes the dolphins are totally in to it, seemingly waiting for another turn while the divers catch their breath. Other times, the dolphins swim off and show no interest. And many times, it’s somewhere in between. It’s been great working with a team that actually cares about how their interactions might be impacting the dolphins – and are actively working to minimize any negative impact. We even…

Look, a dolphin! Oh, and another one. And another one. And…

Man it was quite a day for spotting dolphins! Bimini Adventures was once again chartered by Behind the Mask (BTM) and this time, Nat got to join Kel for a full day of scanning the horizon for dorsal fins. Within just one hour of the boat ride, we came across two bottlenose dolphins. It was a gorgeous day, the water was crystal clear and smooth, so we could see and spot the dolphins clearly from a distance. We were quick to record the sighting and try to take some pictures with the surface camera while the BTM team attempted to film the dolphins. Alas, this wasn’t part of the dolphins’ plan, but the rest of the day included seven sightings…

Behind the Mask meets the Bimini dolphins

Happy Independence Day, The Bahamas! As the island of Bimini celebrated along with the whole country, Nat had another island-office day, working on photo-ID. Kel headed out with Bimini Adventures for an unusual dolphin trip… I knew I wouldn’t be able to collect any underwater data, but I still packed my gear, just in case! Al and I departed the Sea Crest and were soon getting to know the awesome team from Behind the Mask. I’m grateful for their openness as I offer insight into how they can be the least invasive and the most respectful of the dolphins during their shoot this week. I did a short on-camera interview with them and then – we were off! It was…

Sharing the experience

Being able to work with and around dolphins is such an amazing experience, and being able to share that experience with others makes it all the more worthwhile and fulfilling. On Sunday morning, I was able to join Kel for a presentation about DCP aboard the Coral Reef II for the first of two Shedd Aquarium High School Marine Biology programs. The captain picked us up in Alice Town around 9:00 am in a small boat for a quick 15-minute boat ride to the Coral Reef II, where the students stayed for the program. Thank goodness it was a beautiful day and the seas were calm, otherwise Kel and I would have been soaked to the bone! We were able…

Conch Salad Anyone?

This past Tuesday was definitely a day full of firsts! As office work days continue with ample amounts of photo sorting and dolphin IDs, boat breaks are essential to keep the mind fresh and sharp to look out for those distinct dorsal fin notches and curves. So when Kel invited me for an afternoon boating trip with family and friends, I didn’t hesitate! We left the Sea Crest dock around 1:00 in the afternoon on a smaller boat named Lay Low to venture out to a small beach that wasn’t filled with Bimini tourists. Upon arrival to our little beach on the North end of Bimini, we stopped by a sea grass bed to snorkel and dive for queen conch.…

Farewell from Patrick

Being in Bimini again for a week was definitely a treat. Although shorter than my last two trips, I tried to keep it busy with a few dolphin trips, working with intern Nat, beach trips, and of course, food! If you’ve been keeping up with the blog posts, you read about our great dolphin trips on Monday and Tuesday with Manhattan and Hunter College. These included a roughly 40 minute swim with Lil’ Jess (#35), Romeo (#10), Leslie (#80), Sulphur (#102), and #117, and a few calves and juveniles. They were all so playful and interactive with us! It was so great seeing some familiar dolphin spots and rostrums, before my dolphin trips were finished for the week. While I…

A Taste of Island Life

A break from boat trips means I get to delve into island life and explore beautiful Bimini. On Wednesday & Thursday, Patrick showed me all the hot spots to purchase my groceries and most importantly, my bread! Such a great little shop down King’s highway called Charlie’s Bread makes the best local bread that leaves your mouth watering for days! Just further down the street is where the grocery store is located, perfect to venture to on a Thursday or Friday when the shipment of food arrives. Besides the waters offshore Bimini where the dolphins swim, there is so much to explore just in my backyard! A snorkel swim just around the rock jetty outside my cottage welcomes a whole…

Speechless

I will try to do the impossible task of describing my first experience swimming with wild dolphins, but I’m afraid that there are just no words in the English language to describe the sensation and feeling. To begin, we boarded the Sea Crest Boat at 2:00 in the afternoon. As Patrick continued to teach me the ropes of my new position, we stumbled into a small thunderstorm which accompanied bucket loads of rain. Captain Al made sure everyone was safe and sound inside the cabin until the storm passed. The original plan had been to snorkel the “road to Atlantis”, but unfortunately due to the change in weather, we skipped the snorkel to instead set our eyes to the sea…

Interns are in the field – yay!

Each summer, DCP aims to have multiple internship opportunities at our Bimini, The Bahamas, field site. As you read last month, J.P. participated in our May Short Field Experience Internship. Nat (Natalie) has been busy at our USA office and began the field portion of her internship this week. To help train and orient Nat to the island, Patrick – 2016 field course participant (EKU) and 2017 summer intern – has returned for the week. Check out their first impressions below and follow along with Nat’s experience over the next 5 weeks! Cheers, Kel On Sunday, I once again I found myself back in Bimini! I think I'm trying to make it a summer habit at this point. After getting…

Little Injuries

Thursday’s boat trip included two Atlantic spotted dolphin sightings. First, we found a group of about 11 spotteds, but they were on the move. I think un-named #117, an adult female was in the group, as well as a juvenile with a small and shallow, but fresh, injury to its side. These dolphins heal so well, I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t even leave a scar… Later in the day and farther from shore, we saw another group of spotted dolphins. This time, we were able to observe them under water. I didn’t readily match anyone to our photo-ID catalog, though several looked quite familiar, so I’m sure we’ll make some IDs once we have time to review the…

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Dolphin Communication Project
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