Our time at Dolphin Encounters was a success!!!! We were able to record ambient noise 3 times a day in each of the 5 pools, came away with 4.5 hours of underwater video and over 100 digital ID photographs–a very productive three days and a big change from our usual routine. We awoke each morning at 6 a.m. and returned to our hotel around 7 p.m., unlike our schedule in Bimini where our work day begins at 2 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. The biggest difference however, would have to be the convenience of such accessible dolphins. We knew that there would be 16 dolphins, ready and waiting for us each day. In Bimini, we are never sure whether or not we will see dolphins, let alone be able to film them. It is also much easier to quickly recognize 16 animals as opposed to almost 80 individuals. However, it did require a bit of a brain shift as the bottlenose do not have the spot patterns that we are accustomed to relying on for identification of the spotted dolphins. For the bottlenose dolphins, we had to rely primarily on size, scars and other marks. Because we were able to be around the dolphins all day at DE and chat with their trainers, we also became very familiar with each animal’s personality, which sometimes helped in the identification process.
A HUGE thanks to the folks at Dolphin Encounters! Check them out at: www.dolphinencounters.com. DCP and Mystic Aquarium look forward to future collaborations and we will see you soon! We were also sad to say goodbye to Darcie, who flew home from Nassau, having completed her summer field work.
We are now back in Bimini (after a cancelled flight and four extra hours in the airport–can traveling ever be easy? 🙂 and are looking forward to going out on the boat tomorrow afternoon to see our spotted friends again. We are also expecting DCP’s newest addition, Justin Gregg, who will be with us for the next month gaining field experience. Look for his guest field reports soon!
-K and K