I went for the suspenseful dot, dot, dot back there. Glad you were intrigued!
Anyway, once we arrived at the spot, we saw bottlenose dolphins. And I thought to myself, "Huh, I don't see anything weird. A bit unusual for them to be right here, but other than that…" And then there they were. Darker. Longer. Bigger. Could these be "offshore" bottlenose? In many areas of the world there are two "ecotypes" of common bottlenose dolphins – inshore (or coastal) and offshore (or oceanic or pelagic). Several years ago I think I saw a group of "offshore bottlenose," in the shallow water off Bimini. Could these be more of the same?
We looked closer and realized that there was something strange – even if these were offshore bottlenose. They had scratchy, white pigmentation on half of their peduncles. And at least 2 of the 4 had similar pigmentation in front of the dorsal fin. I found myself enthusiastically scratching my head wondering, "What am I looking at?" I was able to capture what will hopefully turn out to be a few useful photographs and video clips. We'll see…
Today we got a similar call, but by the time we reached the area, there were "only" regular bottlenose – that is, the inshore bottlenose we typically see here in Bimini. Perhaps our mystery friends will visit these waters again soon…
And then, just as I sat down to write you this note, I looked out the window with the binoculars only to see a group of 5 bottlenose (I think, they were far) racing up the coast. They were traveling north fast (an important dinner reservation?), porpoising and pausing for a brief tail slap here and there as they went.
I'll let you know what else we find as soon as we find it!
PS: Doesn't all of this sound really exciting? There is still time to sign up for our eco-tour program this June. You too can be a part of unpredictable wild dolphin research while scanning the turquoise waters of Bimini…starting your day on the white sand beach…photographing the always different sunset…experiencing the cheerful and energetic local culture…ahhh – if that all sounds lovely, click here