The weather has continued to be unseasonably challenging here in Bimini. Still, we continued our search for dolphins on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday we saw bottlenose dolphins, but as with previous sightings they were on the move and showed no interest in changing their plans. Their movements combined with the rough seas made getting still photos nearly impossible. Still, I hope we’ll be able to identify at least one or two individuals. On Thursday, we spent a fair bit of time following two adult Atlantic spotted dolphins. But, even as this pair took breaks from their northerly travel to surf the waves west, they were not slowing down for the film crew! We all understand the challenges of field (and film) work, but I’d be lying if I said we all weren’t ready for a change of fortune.
On Friday, it didn’t seem like good fortune was going to come our way. We departed at 8:00 a.m. and never took our eyes off the waves, hoping the dolphins would make themselves obvious to us. It wasn’t until 12:17, nearly back home, that we got a taste of success! A group of bottlenose dolphins was combing the area. At first we could see at least seven dolphins, including the presumed mother/calf pair from Monday! As we assessed the dolphins’ behavior, it appeared that they were crater feeding (finding small snacks buried in the sand), but the group had split in two. While the mom & calf pair (possibly two, and others) stayed slightly to our south, the film crew had two hours and 17 minutes to film the remaining dolphins under water! I stayed onboard collected dorsal fin images (including this one, with a visible shark bite scar on its head) and the crew sounded very happy with what they recorded.
Next up, spotteds!