We encountered a dolphin wall!

BIM11_T13_ID056_seaweedWe began Saturday with a lecture about dolphin senses and communication, followed by photo-ID work. We departed the dock at 1403 and went to “The Road to Atlantis!” We saw many species including angelfish, trumpet fish, barracuda, lobster, queen triggerfish and sergeant majors. Kel saw a turtle from the boat, but it wasn’t interested in checking out us snorkelers. Some people think the stones might have been human-made while others are going with a natural formation.

During our search for dolphins, we passed a large loggerhead turtle, which quickly dove down as the boat passed. At 1635 we saw 5 Atlantic spotted dolphins – three adults (including Stefran #82) and two calves. We got in the water with this group, but they did not stay very long. Back on the boat, we lost sight of the dolphins for a few minutes, but soon two of the adults and one calf came back to the boat. The sighting ended at 1746. Our next sighting began 1817 and included both of Bimini’s dolphin species – bottlenose and spotted! They were very active and there were lots of mating attempts. The highest group count was 23 individuals! The bottlenose dolphins are much larger than the spotteds and had many more rake marks on their bodies. We observed this mixed species group underwater and then continued observations of nine spotteds. We saw crater feeding and heard lots of vocalizations. Three spotteds were observed “playing” with seaweed – the seaweed was on the fluke of one individual before another grabbed it in its mouth and another took it with its pectoral fin, and so on. In this photo, you can see Lone Star (#56) with seaweed in her mouth!

Atlantis remains a mystery,
Kel & the UNBSJ crew