Bimini2010_T86_092We departed the dock with sunny skies and, finally, calm seas. Saturday’s trip followed a week of abbreviated and/or cancelled dolphin trips because of the high winds and seas. Although today’s group of passengers was small, we were all eager for dolphins. The first half of the trip was uneventful, but we didn’t stop looking. At about 1730, we saw some very big splashes. Although we were hopeful it might be dolphins, we were prepared for something more unusual because the splashes were not typical for what we see here. Soon, it was unmistakable – dolphins were causing all this commotion! Soon we were following at least 50 – yes, 5-0 – dolphins as they traveled north. This is officially the largest dolphin group observed by DCP in Bimini. Amazing! As if that weren’t enough, there was at least one bottlenose dolphin in the group – and possibly (not confirmed) at least three pantropical spotted dolphins! This species is not often seen in this area – it was all very exciting!! 

Included in the group were Romeo (#10), Swoosh (#36), Lone Star (#56), Trudy (#57), Stefran (#82), Addie (#84), Tilly (#87) and un-named #43 and #92. ID#92 is pictured here. The boat passengers were able to get a quick glimpse under water with the young dolphins circling all about! 

Until next time,

Kel

On Thursday morning, we continued to review still photographs of bottlenose dolphins – and we got to check out the video footage collected on Tuesday’s dolphin trip. We sorted more images of Tt15 and suspect that Tt31 may have also been present. In Wednesday’s photographs we all agreed the that distinct individual, whose photograph was included in our last field report, is in fact Tt26. That means that Tt26 has been seen at least once in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Now if only we knew if Tt26 was male or female… 

In the afternoon we began our final dolphin trip of the week. The seas continued to be choppy and we were also dealing with scattered squalls in the area. As our captain kept his eyes on the storm clouds, we kept our eyes open for dolphins. Unfortunately we were not able to end the week with a dolphin sighting, but it was great to be out looking. 

We came back to the dock just before a small squall passed and then headed out for a group dinner. It was wonderful (thanks guys!). This morning, we all met for one last time before the SCS team headed to the airport. 

DCP would like to give a big thank you to everyone at the Swiss Cetacean Society for helping to organize this trip – and of course, the enthusiastic participants – Thank you! 

Until next time,

Kel & the SCS Team

Bimini2010_T83_TtOn Wednesday morning, we went through ¾ of the underwater still photos collected during Tuesday’s amazing swim with bottlenose dolphins. Although many of the photographs were more suitable for behavior documentation and not photo-ID, we were able to confirm that Tt15 was in the group! The “Tt” in the ID code stands for “Tursiops truncatus” which is the Latin, or scientific, name for a bottlenose dolphin. We were thrilled to confirm this ID as well as add additional sections of its body to Tt15’s ID files. 

The afternoon brought dolphin trip #4 of the week. We headed out at 1430 with winds slightly more in the east which gave us some protection as we searched for bottlenose along the coastline. It seemed immediately there they were! Two bottlenose dolphins were traveling south. They showed no signs of slowing down, so we followed them. Soon, then changed directions again, heading back where they came from – we wondered what they were searching for! We observed them for a bit longer before opting to go in search of other dolphins. We took a 20 minute break to snorkel the “Bimini Road” (aka “Atlantis”) and then headed into choppy seas to look for more dolphins. Although we did not see them, we were thrilled to see so much of the first two bottlenose dolphins and look forward to trying to ID their dorsal fins tomorrow – including the very distinct fin pictured here! 

Until then,

Kel & the SCS Team

Bimini2010_SCSTtMonday afternoon’s dolphin trip was bumpy and well, dolphin-free. Although we kept our spirits high and stayed optimistic, we did not see any dolphins. On Tuesday morning, the SCS team had a chance to explore North Bimini, including the small museum. At 1430, we left the dock. We chatted with our captain and prepared ourselves for even choppier seas. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, was a bottlenose dolphin! We became very enthusiastic only to lose sight of the dolphin. Moments later, we saw a couple more and this time, we did not lose sight of them for more than 90 minutes! The majority of this time was spent with the SCS team in the water (pictured here), observing five bottlenose dolphins “crater feeding,” while Kel stayed aboard the boat collecting dorsal fin photographs. She joined in the water toward the end, recording approximately 10 minutes of video data. Suddenly, the dolphins were out of sight – we did not know whether they went north or south, but we were thrilled to have had such a long observation on such a choppy day! 

Until next time,

Kel & the 2010 SCS Team

Bimini 2010_T80_TtRakeMarksOn Sunday morning, three members of the Swiss Cetacean Society arrived in Bimini. After settling into the Sea Crest Hotel & Marina, we left the dock in search of dolphins. It has been very windy here in Bimini so we were not sure how much time we would be able to spend in search of dolphins. About an hour into the boat trip, the participants hopped in the warm sea to test their snorkel gear and practice getting on and off the boat. We continued looking for dolphins and before we knew it, there they were! A group of bottlenose dolphins circled before clearly traveling north. There seemed to be two separate groups, but they were all headed north. We got a good number of dorsal fin photographs suitable for photo-ID, including this dolphin whose peduncle is covered in rake marks!  

Monday morning began with a casual lecture and Q&A session. The participants have many great questions and ideas – thank you! We’ll try another boat trip in the afternoon! 

Until then,

Kel & 2010 SCS Participants

The weather kept us back at the dock a bit this week. We did have a dolphin trip on Tuesday, but it was abbreviated because the chop was too severe for this week’s guests to safely get on and off the boat. So, we headed back to the dock hoping Mother Nature would calm down. On Wednesday the conditions were not any better, so it was a computer day. Thankfully, Thursday was significantly calmer so we headed out for the group’s final day. We had to wait awhile, but we did see two older calves/young juveniles. The water clarity was poor, but everyone was happy to get in the water. Back on the boat, we realized they were out of sight so we searched for new dolphins. We did find two more (apparently it was the day of twos!), including Addie (#84) and un-named #92. They were not interested in the boat and soon were out of view. It was only a few minutes later that we saw three more dolphins, including one or two that were in the first group! As they day came full circle, we had one more short swim before heading home, with the sunset chasing us. 

It looks there will be a bit of a break in dolphin trips over the next week, but stay tuned for more field reports before the end of the month! 

Until then,

Kel

Bimini2010_T77_SunsetWe departed the Sea Crest Marina Sunday afternoon in the sunshine and heat, ready once again for dolphins. Although we had to wait a bit, we saw them – lots of them. At first we saw Tilly (#87) and some other youngsters. We had two opportunities to see the dolphins under water and there were so many! On the second entry, I counted at least 28! Included in the group, by the end of both swims, we’d seen Tina (#14), Lone Star (#56), Nemo (#76), Speedy (#78), Addie (#84), Tilly (#87) and many others. The final minutes were spent with two adults and two calves (mother/calf pairs??). It will be great to watch the video and ID one of the adults who spent lots of time close by, carefully showing both of her sides! 

We headed back a bit behind schedule, but the cloud cover to the west made for a beautiful sunset sky! 

Until tomorrow,

Kel

A burst of high winds postponed our dolphin trip on Friday, but Saturday sure did work out well! We left the dock at 1530 and headed into calm seas, although there was a ground swell making the boat rock a bit. We were of course keeping our eyes out for dolphins, but it was once again them who found us. At first, we had Tina (#14), Speedy (#78) and Tilly (#87) checking out our bow and surfing in the swells. A larger group cruised through as well, so it was time to test the waters! Some of us hopped in first, including the MVA. The video data should show some good juvenile interactions, although some of the older dolphins did check out the background. On our second water entry, we also saw Lumpy (#17), Addie (#84) and, I think, Tim (#69). Hopefully I’ll get even more ID’s while reviewing the video! 

If the weather holds, there should be quite a few dolphin trips this week, so stay tuned! 

Until then,

Kel

Bimini2010_T75_CalmBiminiThis field report is a wrap up for the last of this year’s scheduled dolphin weeks with Bill & Nowdla Keefe’s Wild Dolphin Adventures. We had a small, but enthusiastic group of passengers who, among other qualities, was thankfully very patient. Our first trip was scheduled to be Sunday, but the frequent squalls kept us at the dock. On Monday, we headed into the wind, hoping for some better luck. Unfortunately, a new squall built up and crossed our path, sending us back to the safety of the dock. On Tuesday, we were able to spend much more time looking for dolphins, but had to remain close to shore as the seas continued to be unfavorable. While we were all wishing for calmer, sunnier weather, we also knew that this weather system was exactly what was keeping the fierce Hurricane Earl away from our shores; and for that, we were grateful. On Wednesday, we looked for dolphins close to Bimini and then headed south to Turtle Rocks for some snorkel time. Everyone enjoyed getting wet and seeing lots fish, rays and even a turtle!  

By Thursday everyone, myself included, was ready for the picturesque Bimini we all know and love. Thankfully, we got it (see picture)! It is amazing how quickly the weather can change (in either direction!), but we spent some extra time on the boat, in the sun and the gentler breeze, looking for dolphins. Although we still had to be patient, we did see them! Late in the day, we got a visit from White Blotch (#29), her un-named 6-year old calf, #94 and another un-named calf (not sure who it belongs to!). After a bow ride, we geared up and gently hopped in the water. The youngsters were very interested in the people, with lots of circle swims and some whistling. At couple different points we saw more adult dolphins passing by on the periphery. It was a great way to the end bumpy week! In fact, we even saw two bottlenose dolphins, as the sun was setting, on our way home… 

Until next time,

Kel

We departed the dock Friday afternoon with a full boat of excited passengers. The seas were a bit choppy, but nothing we couldn’t handle. We saw the dolphins fairly early – a group of five relatively young dolphins were ready and willing to ride the bow of the boat. Included in the group were Tina (#14), Addie (#84) and Tilly (#87). Addie is our newest Bimini dolphin to receive a name through DCP’s Name-A-Dolphin program. Stay tuned for all of the exciting details, including Addie’s Facebook page, trading card and how you can be one of the first to adopt her! 

We had a great swim with this crew and even though the underwater visibility was poor, everyone got a good look. Back on the boat we saw that Nemo (#76) had joined the group as well as several adult dolphins. We had one more quick water entry and then the passengers had the opportunity to tow behind the boat in order to get a look at the busy dolphins. All in all, a great day! 

Until next time,

Kel

Wednesday was another great day in Bimini. We headed out confident (as always) that we would see our spotted (or bottlenose) friends. We got a quick glimpse of what appeared to be a lone bottlenose dolphin, but it appeared to be actively avoiding the boat – so we headed on our way. With the sun setting earlier these days, we were beginning to worry about not seeing more dolphins as the sun dipped lower and lower in the sky. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, we saw them! At least eight spotted dolphins, including Split Jaw (#22), Billy (#64), Speedy (#78), Tilly (#87) and un-named #91. We had a great 20 minute swim with these guys and everyone was glowing back on the boat. As we headed home, we came across 3 separate groups of spotted dolphins! They were eager to bow ride and we got one more, quick, sunset swim with White Blotch (#29) and un-named #94. We also saw Tina (#14) and un-named #92. Another great day! 

Until tomorrow,

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.

Connect with us

Join us on Facebook