With a few successful dolphin trips under their belt, the interns headed out on Sunday with Bimini Undersea to find more dolphins! We sighted a group of about six bottlenose dolphins early on and close to Bimini’s shores, and attempted to get in the water with them, but although they most likely were crater feeding, they weren’t too interested in having a swim with us. Shortly after we found a pair of spotted dolphins hanging out and playfully swimming around! As we jumped in the pair was very interactive and didn’t mind getting up close and personal with us, and the guests! They soon lost interest and swam off, but it was a great swim to start the afternoon. As the night started to wind down and darkness wasn’t far off we spotted a large group of twenty or more dolphins including spotted and bottlenose! The group was very frisky and we observed some tail slaps and most likely some mating behaviors as well. We were even able to spot Split Jaw (#22) and Stefran (#82)! As the larger group scattered, smaller sub-groups developed and we were able to have another underwater encounter with a group of about seven spotted dolphins who were hanging around the boat. As we got into the water this group was quickly joined by another group of about six dolphins who wanted to get in on the fun! There were a lot of close swims and a lot of dolphins to keep our eyes on! We were even able to catch a glimpse of Swoosh (#36) with her male calf, Addie (#84) and Tilly (#87)! It was a great end to the day! We headed back to the dock at 2000hrs feeling satisfied and excited to see our footage from the day’s swims!
While the interns headed out on their dolphin trip, Kel also headed out on a trip of her own with Sea Crest Hotel & Marina. They sighted a group of at least 4 bottlenose, but as with the Bimini Undersea trip, they didn’t seem all too interested in having a swim with the guests. Soon after they encountered a large group of at least 21 spotted dolphins which included Lil’ Jess (#35), Lonestar (#56), Stefran (#82), un-named #40, and possibly Cerra (#38). At least four young calves were in the mix as well. Although visibility deteriorated over the course of the day, Kel was still able to record about 20 minutes of video/acoustic data. They continued to follow the large group of dolphins; at one point it included both spotted and bottlenose dolphins. There were more familiar faces including Romeo (#10), Tina (#14), Trudy (#57) and un-named #93. With sunset not far off, they had to say to say goodbye to the dolphins. Three youngsters rode the bow for a few minutes, with #93 the last off the bow of the boat. The boat reached the dock shortly after the interns had arrived, and we were all glad to know that both groups had successful dolphin trips! We look forward to another day of dolphin trips tomorrow!
Brittany, Alexis, & Kel