On Monday I had to say goodbye (well, hopefully see you later) to Alexis. As I dropped her at the water taxi, I was wishing this year’s interns were staying forever! But alas, it was time for me to get readjusted to being the solo researcher on Bimini…
On Tuesday, I joined Hunter College’s dolphin trip with Bimini Adventures. The sun was hot, but the seas were flat, so we had high hopes of seeing every dolphin possible. Fairly early on we saw two bottlenose dolphins. The water was so clear we could see their every move from the boat. It appeared that they might have been searching for tasty, buried prey, but weren’t finding anything. Still, we hopped in to see if we could observe the search. With only a single dolphin in view, fairly far away and getting farther, we returned to the boat and our own search. It was a group nine bottlenose that next appeared and they were checking out the bow and swimming in a tight group. Soon, there were more bottlenose behind us and the groups appeared to combine. This time when we entered the water we saw a group of several in the distance as three dolphins approached us and slowly swam past. I’m hopeful that they were close enough, water visibility was good enough and their pass was perpendicular enough that we will be able to match catalogued dorsal fins to marks on their bodies.
Back on the boat, there was talk of the trip staying spotted-less, but Lil’ Jess (#35) and her older calf disagreed. Although they came to the boat and road the bow for quite some time, they had no interest in staying close once we were in the water. As we moved on, again, a second (presumed) mother-calf pair joined the bow as we found ourselves headed toward home. With everyone’s guard down, just outside the Bimini harbor, a group of at least 11 bottlenose dolphins gave us all one last chance for surface observations and DCP lots of images to be sorted!
Until next time,
PS: Photo to follow!