This morning started early with a nice breakfast with Kathy DeStefano as she prepares to leave the island for an unknown length of time. We are sad to see her go, but we are thrilled that she is about to start a new boating adventure & trust that it won’t be long before we meet again here in Bimini. The ordinary feel to the day ended shortly after breakfast when we received a call that a bottlenose dolphin was in a mangrove canal on South Bimini. The animal was first seen by locals who notified researchers at the South Bimini Shark Lab. This is the first known occurrence of a dolphin in one of these canals. The earliest observation (by South Bimini Shark Lab researchers) was at approximately 8:00, 2 Aug. The animal was seen within a singular area no more than 100 yards long, 60 feet wide throughout 2 Aug. On 3 Aug, Bimini Undersea was notified & we joined them on the south island, observing the animal from 12:30 to 13:00. At this time the animal was swimming back & forth, covering several hundred yards within the canal, closer to the opening to the ocean. We returned to North Bimini & chatted via telephone with folks at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration and the Director of the Bahamas Marine Mammal Conservancy who handles stranding issues within this country. Both advisors recommended the animal be assisted back to sea (or at least an attempt made). Dr. Bater gave Bimini Undersea & DCP clearance to make necessary decisions for the animal's well being without prior clearance. At approximately 16:45, we returned to the canal on South Bimini to observe the animal after having been told that it had not be seen in the last 20 minutes. After approximately 1 hour of posted watches at various points of the canal, we determined that the animal was no longer present. The Shark Lab manager has offered to periodically check the canal waters & keep in touch with locals, should it be observed again. So, it seems this was a test run of our mobilization skills. It has prompted us to develop a protocol for future issues & so we have a new task in front of us. After all of that excitement, it was time for a relaxing movie night: “Meet Joe Black,” a favorite of Kel’s & a new one for Darcie. Until next time, Kel & Darcie
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