I returned to Bimini early Thursday afternoon just in time for a dolphin trip. This was a private charter with Nowdla Keefe by an Animal Planet (Discovery Channel) film crew. It meant that I would not be able to record video and acoustic data with DCP’s MVA, but it was still a chance to see which dolphins, how many were observed as well as where, when and for how long. We first saw a skittish group of five Atlantic spotteds, including Juliette’s calf, un-named #93. Although #93 was interested in riding the bow of the boat, the others repeatedly changed direction and seemed quite unsettled. We decided to leave this group and go in search of others.
Just moments later there were between three and five bottlenose dolphins. The film crew actually observed them “fishing” out a trumpet fish from within a gorgonian! It appeared to be playing with it, but we’re not sure if it ate it. Very cool! After the bottlenose dolphins left, we continued on as well. We were lucky enough to see even more spotted dolphins – this time a group of at least 30 individuals! That is about on par with the largest group size ever observed here, although we try to be conservative in our count estimates. The majority of the dolphins did not stay near the boat, but we were able to see Romeo (#10), Tina (#14), Lil’ Jess (#35), Swoosh (#36), Trudy (#57), Nemo (#76), Tilly (#87), un-named #75 and 84. Tilly’s injuries continue to heal nicely and the film crew got lots of footage. The dolphins were quite active at the surface, including this young juvenile who decided to get some air!
If the weather cooperates, Thursday’s boat trip marks the first in a series of 8 dolphin trips in a row. So, stayed tuned for lots of field reports!
Until next time,