Bimini Dolphin Research

Report # 12

The weather improved much for us this past week. On Monday we still had wind out of the Southwest at 7-10 knots and waves 3-4 feet, but a shift in wind direction from Southwest to Southeast allowed for winds to drop to less than 3 knots and wave height to be no more than 1 foot for the rest of the week. Scattered showers and thunderstorms were still present in the afternoons. A total of 6 survey trips were conducted this week and only one resulted in no sighting. Two survey trips were conducted on Monday resulting in a sighting of one lone bottlenose dolphin during the morning, which did not show much interest in us and we lost sight of quickly, and no sightings during the afternoon. The remaining four survey trips resulted in sightings of 15-20 spotted dolphins, most of which were made in locations outside of the survey area during our transit to and back from the survey area. Tuesday's and Wednesday's afternoon trips also resulted in second sightings of groups of 8 and 5 spotted individuals, respectively. All of these groups of dolphins were observed travelling south or southwest before and during encounters. Several in-water encounters were conducted and in most cases the adults in the groups would keep travelling south (or southwest) while groups of 6-8 individuals comprised of juveniles, calves and one or two adults, would have short interactions with people. Sexual/social behavior and feeding were observed from the surface and underwater. 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