We began our Wednesday discussing eco-tourism – the meaning of it as well as the pros and cons. We then did some more photo-ID on the previous day’s adventure. We confirmed the presence of Finn (#09), Romeo (#10), Lil’ Jess (#35), Tim (#69) and ID#92, as well as one other un-catalogued calf. After lunch we reviewed our video data from 2 and 4 May that involved lots of water – and dolphins. We identified Leslie (#80) from the video, which was not captured in any of the still photographs.
We left the dock at 15:29. We saw our first 3 dolphins at 17:11. Tilly (# 87), un-named #84 and a young juvenile male. The three dolphins were continuously bowriding and had some synchronized breathing. The first group of people went into the water at 1721. They observed pec fin rubbing, chasing, barrel rolls, slight vocalizations and belly-up swimming. At 1730 the remainder of the students joined the swim as it was our last day to observe the dolphins under water. The encounter ended at 1745. We followed the dolphins into a larger group – totaling 6 dolphins – at 1755. Everyone who wanted a final swim with the dolphins entered the water at 1803. We saw Tim (#69), Swoosh (#36), un-named #84, Tilly (#87), the young juvenile and an un-ID individual. We were able to confirm that the young dolphin with the major injury to the dorsal fin is in fact Tilly (pictured here). The injury is very severe, but it appears to be healing very well. Based on the size of the bite, we suspected a tiger shark. However, closer examination of the teeth marks suggests a bull shark. We witnessed the similar behaviors as previous observations as well as bubble bursts, crater feeding and playing with seaweed. The encountered ended at 1812 and we returned to the dock at 2006.
We finished the day with part 2 of last night’s movie. This section continued the discussion of emotions in humans and non-human animals. We’re done with dolphin trips for the week, but we are looking forward to our final day on Bimini tomorrow!