Monday, we arrived safely on Bimini, after a long trip from Connecticut. For some of us, it was our first trip outside the US or on a small prop plane. From the airport, it was a short van ride to the water taxi – the latter was expertly driven by a boy who looked to be about 5 years old (of course, his father was supervising). We were surprised at how quick the water taxi ride is; North and South Bimini are so close you could swim between the two. That afternoon, we had a camera tutorial, but did not go out on the boat because of the squalls surrounding the island. Ah, the joys of field research! After we settled in, it was time for snorkel practice at the beach. The water was very clear and we were able to see southern sting rays and a barracuda. There were a few “mask malfunctions,” but we got sorted things out.
On day two we had a morning lecture and photo-ID practical before our dolphin survey. First we stopped at the 3 Sisters snorkel site, getting more practice and observing parrot fish and sting rays. Dealing with the currents offshore was a bit of an adjustment. The seas were a bit choppy, but that didn’t stop us from being able to observe both Atlantic spotted and bottlenose dolphins! First, we saw a group of 3 adult spotted dolphins, including un-named #43. This observation ended abruptly, but before the day was over we saw a second group, with both species. Here, we recognized Lone Star (#56) from the boat. Those of us taking underwater photographs, captured images, including bottlenose dolphin ID#23 (pictured above).
Looking forward to tomorrow (and hopefully more dolphins and a little more sunshine),
The SHU Crew