We're more or less settled here in Bimini, with only one or two small things unresolved. Our arrival went a lot smoother than we expected and we were, much to our surprise, able to get out to the dolphingrounds the afternoon of our arrival. Since then we've managed 8 more trips which we've collected environmental and sighting data for, 2 of which we were able to get in the water and take some video of the dolphins. We've reidentified four animals from the past two years and
one new from last year, and we've got a new young animal this year who is missing its right pec fin (still not sure of the sex of this animal). Our first video attempt only yielded a minute and a half worth of footage, but our second encounter was an incredible 50 minutes. We were the ones that left this group of 5 dolphins as the sun set! The group consisted of one adult female and 4 female juveniles. All five were very active, playing with pieces of seaweed and one another. There was lots of rubbing and whistling which made for quite an amazing second encounter for us rookies!
Earlier in the week, though we were not able to get in the water, the passengers thoroughly enjoyed seeing a rather large group of spotteds (around 13) mingling with a rather large bottlenose dolphin who seemed to be almost babysitting the young calves in the group. At one point, we were told that the bottlenose and 4-5 calves were oriented rostrum to rostrum in a circle. We'd love to know what they were talking about!
We're hoping the weather will improve and the winds will die down a bit in the next few days so we can get back out on the water. Though we're finding field work very strenuous and demanding, we're anxious to collect more video and ID data.