Tuesday’s breakfast included our first taste of Bimini bread. We really like its sweetness – some with salty butter! We quickly packed sandwiches, because we had a morning boat trip! The water was so clear and blue – it looked like blue jell-o. We saw a large cushion starfish under a boat and spotted eagle rays in the harbor. Everything is so big! No matter how deep the water was, we could see straight to the bottom. It seemed like the perfect weather to accomplish our mission of finding dolphins. We had a “dolphin drill,” and practiced getting on and off the boat as well as snorkeling in deeper water than the beach. There were even sand dollars. We all did great in the water, but we couldn’t help but applaud Jade, the newest swimmer in the bunch: Well done, Jade! Our first two student teams completed their responsibilities with the DCP datasheet. The DCP datasheet is in our hands (literally) during the course and we take turns, each time training the next team.
There were a few different boats in the area, and during the second half of the search our captains saw what may have been a feeding bottlenose dolphin. But, it clearly did not want us to find it as we couldn’t manage to keep it in sight. Though we didn’t get to see dolphins on this first attempt, we had a great time riding on the boat, especially hanging our feet off the bow! For some of us this was our first time on a real boat!
Coming back in the harbor, there were more eagle rays and then a bull shark right in the marina; well, we think it was a bull shark. Bull sharks have learned that they can get fish scraps from the fish cleaning stations at the marinas, like Sea Crest where our boat is docked.
During our break, we searched for shells, went to the straw market and other shops, got our hair braided and generally explored the island (we saw more sea urchins at Big Game’s marina!). Of course, we also prepped for class. Our class session focused on photo-identification. It was neat to see how much goes into identifying individuals and how tricky it can be. But, if you can stick with it, knowing the individuals in your study group can give you so much information. This topic made us extra excited about actually seeing dolphins and we know we have lots of opportunities ahead of us. Just being on the boat, getting used to its motion, searching for dolphins and practicing getting on and off the boat, was amazing!
After dinner, we wandered to the beach, gazed west and watched a storm roll in. It lit up the sky so beautifully. We even saw lots of crabs scampering about!
What will tomorrow bring?
Colonel Potcakes (EKU 2015)