On Thursday, as usual, we started the day with group breakfast. We quickly headed to the Dolphin House, for a tour with island Renaissance Man Ashley Saunders. The Dolphin House is made out of recycled items found around the island. He has been working on it for over 20 years and it has already proven strong, surviving several hurricanes and tropical storms. His family has been on Bimini, and on the same street, for nearly 200 years. Apparently, on the summer solstice, your shadow will cast an exact line down the street at sunrise and sunset! We had a full tour of Alice Town, including the outside of the Daniel House and we tasted an almond fruit. Amira startled a hermit crab – right out of his shell! We met Mr. Saunders’ brother, Tommy, who makes shell and coconut art. Sammy blew a conch shell and we had a great group photo with Mr. Saunders. It was very hot, but we enjoyed our tour. We had a chance to try conch salad, but that didn’t go over so well…maybe next time! Dr. M was super excited for her vege salad – she even started dancing!
After lunch, we departed at 1430 so that we could snorkel around the biggest of the “3 Sisters.” We saw lots of squid, an eel, sea biscuits, parrot fish, goatfish, squirrelfish and more. We are concerned about the amount of silt that we saw sprinkled over the reef, but looking underneath, we saw lots of vibrant coral (fire coral?!). We climbed aboard once more and soon enough we were hot again. We stopped for a swim break and snacks, still searching for dolphins. Thankfully, they did not disappoint! From the boat, we could see 9 dolphins, under water we saw at least 18. Daniel stayed onboard with Captain Al and they saw two different groups pass through the human swimmers. Once in the water, Corrin dove down and the spotted dolphins cruised right over her! It seemed that there were a few individuals who were more keen to investigate (and show off in front of?) the cameras. Dr. M saw an older spotted use its pectoral fin against the head of another spotted. There was more pec to pec rubbing throughout the encounter. One mother/calf pairs that cruised through was the same mother/calf pair that we saw from the boat on Tuesday night! Toward the end of our swim, a different presumed mother/calf pair just hung back with us, literally. The mother was hanging close to Nicole and the MVA, while the calf would hang with mom and then check us out; hang with mom and then check us out; hang with mom and then check us out. At one point, the calf went belly up to the surface of the water, moving its pectoral fins at the surface. The calf also playfully fluke slapped at the surface, right in from of our cameras! At one point the mom used her pectoral fin against/inside the calf’s genital slit. It was very interesting behavior to observe, all around! There were definitely moments when it felt like the dolphins were studying us. With one more day to go, we hope the dolphins continue to impress us!
With full bellies and tired bodies, we had a snuggle-party in Jade’s & Amira’s room before calling it a night!
Colonel Potcakes (EKU 2015)