Saturday was Day 1 of the 2010 Field Course with University of New Brunswick! Half of the group arrived around 900, as they only had to travel from the “Shark Lab” on South Bimini, having just completed a course there. The rest of the group arrived later in the morning from Florida. We’re all looking forward to a great week!
We left the dock shortly after 1400 with a boatload of enthusiastic Canadian students with various skin tones, ranging from pale white to bright pink – or a combination of both! After a 40 minute boat ride, we stopped to snorkel at “Atlantis” (aka the Bimini Road). The general consensus is that the formation is a rock formation…and likely nothing more (our boat captain is holding out for the alien hypothesis). The current was strong, but everyone (even the first timers) did well. We saw barracuda, parrot fish, puffer fish, trumpet fish and a sting ray. As we continued into the “dolphin grounds,” the sea conditions became a bit rougher. At 1637 we saw our first dolphins. It was a group of 2 adult (class 5) Atlantic spotted dolphins. We think that ID#75 may have been there, but the dolphins did not come close enough confirm. One adult had many white spots; the other was fully fused, but was darker. We saw pectoral fin rubbing (reciprocal!), synchronized breathing, barrel rolls and a little bit of surfing. From the boat we watched as they went all the way to the bottom, disturbing the sand and creating a big dust cloud – could they have been crater feeding? At first they approached the boat, but afterwards they showed no interest in our presence. When we lost sight of them for good (at 1658), we went in search for others. Unfortunately we did not see any other dolphins for the remainder of the trip, but we did see flying fish (counted 23)!
We returned to the dock at 1938. After cleaning up we met for dinner. Following dinner, we watched the movie, DOLPHINS. We learned a bit more about their communication, their intelligence and some feeding behavior. Then it was off to bed – we have another busy day ahead of us.
Until next time,