Another really good morning of visibility and socializing dolphins! The three one-year-old calves were quite rambunctious today. During the early morning session, Stan was zipping around sometimes with Shawn and others with his older sister, Elli. Calli and Elli were also quite enamored of my fins and crowded me often while I watched the others in the group. Maury was in infant position first with Gracie and then with Mrs. B. Shawn was non-phased by Maury usurping his spot with Gracie and just pushed her away a bit to nurse. Alita played a bit with her calf, Dory – with a leaf and then a stick! You can see them in this image here.
After our morning data collection session, we reviewed the video and chatted about our planned innovative research study. We were able to film a brief regular training session with Alita and Gracie to confirm camera angles from the water and on-dock perspectives. I was also able to get another 15 minutes of video in the afternoon. Hard to believe but the underwater visibility was still quite good, even in the afternoon! And, there was lots of whistling from Alita, Gracie and Carmella in the afternoon.
We’ve been using the AX100 in the MVA2 and a GoPro on top. So, we’ve obtained some really neat wide angle images of the dolphins. And been able to document the social interactions between the moms and calves, as well as the older individuals. We wrapped up the day with a talk I gave to our group and a few other guests of the resort. It is always fun to chat about dolphins and our research results!
Tomorrow will bring us over the Bailey’s at 6:00 AM to take advantage of the morning high tide and make it easier for the divers in our group to access the early morning boat dive. Sleep well!
A rainy night dawned to cloudy, overcast skies that suggested the water visibility would be … murky, to be nice! But, the underwater visibility turned out to be not too bad! The adult males were outside the main pool area. So, our early AM (6:30 AM!) data collection session was focused on the adult females and juveniles and calves. It was a delight to watch Dory, Stan and Shawn, the one-year olds, zip around each other in a sort of tag while their moms stayed close by. It was fun to review the dolphin behavior we witnessed with Heather and Dee and our students as well as Regina, Marsha, Corrine, Donna and Brittany.
Calli and Polly took up the typical role that Ronnie, French, Lenca and Champ held. That is, they ushered me around the pool as cetacean escorts and played with my fins. It was a nice welcome to have Calli, Polly, Elli and the calves circle around and whistle with delight.
While a few of our group were helping me collect data on the dolphins at Bailey’s Key, our divers observed a wild group of dolphins just outside the reef. Their dives were good overall. Those that snorkeled also had a good time and saw squirrel fish, a few squid, needlefish, and many more critters.
Our afternoon wrapped up with some photo-ID video confirmation of the dolphin rake marks and watching the video to see the dolphins again!
A good day!!
Tomorrow begins at 6:15!
P.S. the photo was taken by Heather of me after a successful session!
We all arrived Saturday afternoon after relatively short flights and a REALLY long line through immigration. But, we arrived to Anthony’s Key Resort and all settled in nicely! Our group is the biggest one DCP has ever had! Our team includes diehard DCP supporters Bill, Ron, John; DCP fellow researchers Heather and Dee; DCP student collaborators Riley and Erin; past DCP student Brittany; and new DCP participant supporters Butch, Corrine, Debbie, Donna, Frank, Marjorie, Marsha, Regina, Ron, Russell, and Sonia.
We all look forward to a great week of dolphin observations and scuba diving and snorkeling, as well as maybe some interesting discussions and fun times!
P.S. this photo shows the dock walk toward dolphin observations – hurray!
Hi Supporters! Any electronic adoption kit orders received between 5:00 p.m. ET, 30 Sept and 9 October will be filled on 9 October. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your support!
(What? You didn't know you can adopt a wild dolphin? Oh, yes! Check out the program here!)
It is true – my bags seem smaller than in years past! Maybe I’m following technology’s pattern in having my gear get smaller and smaller with more years accumulated! As with our January 2017 field course, I’ve been able to streamline the MVA2 packing such that it fits into a carry-on! I still need a checked bag for my bathing suits, shorty wetsuit, and fins (etc.) but it’s nice to “travel light!” And yes, 1 checked bag and two carry-ons is “traveling light” for me when going into the field! :-)
Tomorrow, we will be on Roatan, at Anthony’s Key Resort! The weather is forecasted to be cloudy every day … but we shall see what happens. I’m hoping the weather-forecasters are incorrect! Either way, here’s to hoping for good underwater visibility and lots of observations and data collection.
Before we can start those activities … we need to get there! Our day will begin very early tomorrow, but the rainbow of the afternoon will be Roatan and the dolphins!
Cheers and stay tuned …
In a couple of days, 20 of us will be traveling from the USA to Roatan to join DCP’s next eco-tour research session at Anthony’s Key Resort in association with the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS). I am really looking forward to this week of observations and data collection of the dolphins at RIMS! It’s been 9.5 months since we were at AKR and we have a slightly modified MVA2 system to use. A few weeks ago, John and I (mostly John) retrofitted the MVA2 with a new, tapeless camera. The camera fits into the housing but the screen will be quite difficult to see. We have a mirror in there to help me see the timecode. But, I’ll also be relying on my watch to track each 30- or 60-minute underwater observation session! You can see in this image John is checking to be sure the housing has no leaks and that the manual controls on the housing match up to the buttons on the camera. All was good!
I have to finish packing the gear and then will be ready to travel south! Stay tuned to the DCP home page for updated from the field during this autumn data collection session to Roatan.
This quarter's issue is full of updates from the field, particularly reports from our Bimini field site. Hear from Kel and the summer "Trio", check out which adopt-a-dolphins we saw and meet Sulfur and Name-A-Dolphin ID#101. You'll see Kathleen has been busy preparing publications and Justin is making an awesome book donation. Thanks for reading - and sharing! Download your copy now.
After spending so much of this summer referring to “The Trio” (Patrick, Kaiya and Tori, our summer interns), it was hard not think of them as I spent a nice portion of the afternoon observing three Atlantic spotted dolphins! I was able to complete trip #43 of the season with Bimini Adventures, once again joining a visiting research team. Since this team was focused on bow riding dolphins, I knew the day would only bring surface observations. Still, it was worth it!
We followed this trio of as-yet unidentified dolphins through the waves as the winds and seas picked up slightly throughout the day. At times they seemed to be traveling, but as I looked toward shore, we never really went anywhere! There were quite a few fluke slaps and aerial displays, which left us wondering if the dolphin was frustrated or showing off. Soon, we realized that maybe it was neither; maybe it was all about the pesky remora!
It was a pleasure joining the trip and even lending a hand. As the summer winds down, I’m always left wondering: Was today the trip of the season?
DCP ID#102 has her name!! We are pleased to introduce, Sulfur, who was named by by Rahul K. Sai as a gift for Snigda Sindhuri Sagabala as part of DCP's Name-A-Dolphin program. Sulfur, a juvenile Atlantic spotted dolphin observed off Bimini, The Bahamas is now available for adoption! Check out her adoption page here. Thank you, Rahul, for your generous support. Snigda, we hope you enjoy your awesome gift!