Bimini Dolphin Research

Report # 10

We had another tropical wave pass this week; although it was not as severe as the one we had last week, some survey trips were cancelled due to severe thunderstorms. Strong easterly winds, ranging between 8-15 knots, were present during three of the five survey trips conducted this week. Three of the five survey trips this week were conducted during the morning (8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.). Monday's survey trip resulted in no sightings. We had a total of six sightings of spotted dolphins, with group sizes ranging between 2-4 individuals, for four of the five survey trips; 10-20 individual dolphins were sighted on one of the survey trips. We also had a total of seven sightings of bottlenose dolphins with group sizes ranging between 2-5 individuals; a few of these sightings were made in close proximity to the spotted dolphin sighting locations. All sightings during afternoon trips were made on or after 7 p.m., and most of the morning sightings occurred before 11 a.m. Most groups were comprised of mom/calf pairs or juveniles. Unfortunately, the majority of encounters were very brief (less than 5 minutes) as dolphins were not interested in swimming with us. The longest encounter this week occurred with bottlenose dolphins on Friday morning. Four bottlenose adults and one calf allowed us to observe them crater-feeding off the bottom for over an hour. As a reminder, we are working with Bill and Nowdla Keefe's Bimini Undersea (their dive boats and dolphin trips) for our research vessels. We are based on Bimini and go out about five miles or so from the island to search for dolphins. Until next week, Xenia