The sun came out! After which, Courtney got a good luck charm for the group in the form of sea gull poop on her shirt! We split into two groups for snorkel trips to “Shell Beach” off South Bimini. The first group saw lots of cool fish, some of which were hiding under rocks. We even saw an arrow crab and lizard fish. For some of us, this was our first time snorkeling off a boat. The second group saw a nurse shark, barracuda, squid (or was it a cuttlefish?), porcupine fish, ocean trigger fish (aka ocean tally) and most saw a very large spotted eagle ray. While each team was snorkeling, the other team discussed DNA sampling via fecal collection. Such fun 😉
And then, there were dolphins! But before we could see the dolphins, some of us were tricked (temporarily) into believing North Rock was an old German U-boat. The first dolphin sighting was two Atlantic spotted dolphin adults, who were joined by two youngsters and another older dolphin. Someone in the group might have thought one was a shark….but we won’t tell who. The dolphins were more interested in surfing the waves than interacting with us, but we did get good look at the oldest dolphin “playing” with sea weed…
We were almost back home, and had given up hope that we would get a chance to be in the water with the dolphins…and there they were: bottlenose dolphins. We were able to be in the water, hearing and feeling their echolocation. It seemed the dolphins were crater feeding (aka bottom grubbing) with at least three nurse sharks as company. Our conservative estimate is that there were 8-10 bottlenose in the group, but we could eventually confirm this number through photo-ID. We noted the distinctive notches in the dorsal fins and one in particular had distinct “W” scar from an old shark bite. We all had the chance to be in the water as the sun set and headed home happily exhausted to a BBQ dinner and brownies!
High hopes for tomorrow,