The start of the 2011 Bimini season really may spoil us. The weather was again stunning and the water was crystal clear. We departed with Al Sweeting Jr. at 14:30 and were with dolphins a mere hour later. There were nine dolphins – it appeared to be eight bottlenose and a single adult spotted. It is quite rare to have a mixed species group with bottlenose outnumbering spotteds. They were very active at the surface and not the least bit interested in us. Nearby there were a slew of other dolphins, so we went to check them out. There were well over 30 dolphins in the area, breaking apart into smaller subgroups. Over the course of the early afternoon we saw Romeo (#10), Lone Star (#56), Speedy (#78), Addie (#84), Tilly (#87) and I think Cerra (#38). Un-named #95, a young male who was just added to the catalogue last season, was also in the mix. Romeo (#10) is pictured here – with her tell-tale, blunt dorsal fin.
At 1721, as the dolphins were on the move, we decided to head back toward Bimini to see if we could catch up with a different group. We were not disappointed! We observed a total of six Atlantic spotted dolphins, as well as two sizeable nurse sharks. Four were older calves, including un-named #93. There was one young juvenile, who was just getting its first spots and an older juvenile male. I’ll need to review the catalogue to determine if this is a new animal! The youngsters were very entertaining to watch – they chased a boxfish, ate a sand tilefish and played with a sea cucumber! What a day!
No trips on the schedule for the rest of the week, but hopefully some more next week.