Right from the start on Thursday Kali & Ellyne could tell the day’s trip would be better than our last as the sea was much calmer. The field course students were eager to get their fins wet and head off to Bimini Road for snorkeling. Bimini Road was a new place to explore for the students and even this year’s DCP interns. We saw all sorts of life below the surface including angel fish, many different types of wrasses, sergeant majors, sponges, a few corals, and even a nurse shark. We enjoyed a great snorkel and were then excited to leave and go find dolphins.
We heard that there were dolphins ahead and we caught up to them quickly. The 12 spotted dolphins were bow riding and Stefran’s (#82) distinct dorsal fin was clearly visible from the boat. There were three calves including a very small calf; hopefully one belongs to Stefran! When we entered the water we were approached by many young adults and adults who were swimming together. We kept following the spotted group and more dolphins joined in to make a larger group of 17 including four calves, Tina (#14, pictured here) and her calf, Noodle (#94) and her calf, un-named #99 and possibly Buster (#04) and un-named #75. We’re hoping for good shots of a juvenile with a badly damaged fluke and of an older calf/young juvenile with a single peduncle notch, both of whom we have seen several times this year. Maybe these youngsters will soon be added to the DCP photo-ID catalog! The spotted dolphins were bow riding and inverted, many calves were leaping and slapping their flukes. We tried entering the water with the larger group but they were on the move quite fast in deeper murkier water, but we were able to make some more surface observations and realized Lil’ Jess (#35) may have also been in the mix. The students and DCP were happy to have such great observations of the spotteds for over an hour today and looking forward to another great boat trip tomorrow.
All that splashes,
Ellyne, Kali & Kel