After breakfast, we did more paper presentations: dental erosion in south Atlantic dolphins, vocalizations of dolphins off Bimini (w/ DCP data!) and characteristics of morphotype D orca whales. Next, we had a Skype presentation from Dr. Justin Gregg. He asked the question, “Are dolphins intelligent?” We learned about many different experiments, including ones that definitely do not happen anymore! After a few references this week, we all know who John Lilly is (enthusiastic nods). We found dolphins’ ability to mimic and the potential uses of their signature whistles cool. The difference between dolphins potentially planning a synchronous behavior versus being really fast at copying another dolphin’s behavior was also very interesting. On a separate topic, he told us there is still snow in The Maritimes!
After lunch, we got ready for a 2:30 boat departure. Still in the harbor, just five minutes after departure, some of us saw an eagle ray jump! And a whole four minutes later, we saw dolphins! They were very close to the shore; they were taking several breaths and then doing a longer dive to the sea floor suggesting foraging. Sometimes they came up separately, and other times they surfaced in synchrony. One jumped completely out of the water – the belly was facing us! At one point, they came close to the boat, but they never rode the bow. Another time, they were at the surface near the stern of the boat – perhaps they were investigating us! The group size was three, but we never saw three at the same time. We could tell there were three because of the distinct dorsal fins.
We followed this group for one hour and 12 minutes! After saying goodbye, we headed to “The Bimini Road” – it was awesome! We all agree that it is extraterrestrial. Just kidding: we are split – some of us think it’s a natural formation and others think there is enough design to indicate they were placed there by humans. We saw a lot of fish and a spiny lobster. Some of the fish were new to us, like a queen triggerfish, trumpet fish and a fish we still can’t identify.
Back on shore, we did our final preparations for our debate on dolphins in captivity (while others got conch fritters and cracked conch from Sherry!). Though the debate got heated, nothing was actually thrown! Dinner was “freaking delicious” – thank you Ms. Stephie! We topped it off with ice cream and the remainder of our paper presentations. Some of us crashed hard and we are all looking forward to tomorrow.
Bimini Babes (& Hunks), UNBSJ 2015