Bahamas Summary … with a few other tidbits.
Well, I must say thank you for all your patience in waiting for the summary of my field research in the Bahamas. This past month has been crazy busy but I finally have been able to review the slides and video taken while at sea.
We saw some familiar faces (dolphin faces, that is) and two or three new additions to the study population of Atlantic spotted dolphins. It was a joy to get re-acquainted with these dolphins after my time in Japan. So, let me first summarize our data collection efforts and then show you some of the dolphins we saw this summer (2000).
The number of sightings ranged from 8 to 30 per trip with between from 2 to 10 encounters (in-water swims with dolphins) for this field season. Our encounters lasted on average about 10 minutes but ranged from 5 to 60 minutes. We saw about 40 different individual dolphins on each trip of both species – the spotted and bottlenose dolphins. The bottlenose dolphins seemed more inquisitive of people this year than in the past. We identified several dolphins from previous seasons (see the photo gallery) and also met a couple of new dolphins to this study group … one actually had only half a fluke (Tail)! But no, it did not swim in circles! Several of the identified dolphins are shown in our photo gallery. We also discuss spot differences and the age classes of spotted dolphins in the gallery.
Our trips were filled not only with excitement from dolphin observations but also from weather – a tropical storm and hurricane that passed through – and from sightings of other marine animals. We saw at least one shark a week … unusual during the summer months when the water temps are warmer than the late fall to spring. The sharks included tiger and nurse species. We also saw MANY turtles: hawksbill and green turtles. We even swam with a few turtles at the Sugar Wreck. All in all we had a very productive and fun field season in the Bahamas (and in Japan) during 2000, Summer. Thanks for joining us.
We hope to have the field reports site up and running again next summer (2001). Keep posted to the DCP web site (www.umiandus.com) for information as the spring and summer month approach. Thank again for all your participation.
Hope to share our work with you next summer!
Director, Dolphin Communication Project