On Thursday, I (Ellyne) joined Bimini Adventures for what was likely my final dolphin trip! We set out to sea in the sunshine on the clear water. As we moved down the coastline a breeze aided in cooling us down and made ripples in the waves. We soon saw a small turtle poke its head out of the water.
Within the first forty minutes we came across two spotted dolphins! They swam towards us and soon we could see 10 spotteds near the boat including un-named #102. As we entered the water a group of 15 spotteds were grouped closely together possibly including the newly named adopt-a-dolphin, Paul (#99)! The dolphins then swam away from the snorkelers. After returning to the boat we followed the spotteds in hopes of having another swim with them. Soon five spotted dolphins started bow riding; a regular, though not yet catalogued, young spotted may have been in the group. This young dolphin has major damage to its fluke, making it very recognizable. Another of the dolphins, pictured here, was belly up with its rostrum out of the water and a piece of seaweed near its belly! With a group of ten spotteds now by the boat, we attempted to join them underwater; unfortunately they quickly went out of sight.
Soon three spotteds were back in view by the bow and interested in bow riding. Captain Al entered the water alone and attempted to approach the dolphins but they quickly moved away. By this point, we had seen three separate groups of spotted dolphins that were scattered far apart. We had attempted to be close with each group but the dolphins kept moving away without interest. Captain Audley said that one group was even chasing fish in the distance. We decided to move on as the dolphins had moved far away and then eventually out of sight. But first, it was time for a cooling swim break!
A half an hour later we saw splashes in the distance and moved closer to investigate. The splashes were in fact three spotted dolphins that sped by us possibly chasing fish! We tried to move closer but the dolphins were preoccupied moving fast past the boat. With lots of surface observations to show for our effort, we started to head back to shore. Not far from the channel entrance we saw a splash in the distance and moved toward it to see a jumping sailfish out in the distance or so we guessed. We continued heading to shore after a day full of too many spotted dolphins to even count! It has been an impressive week full of bottlenose and spotted dolphins. We all left the boat with many great moments with the dolphins and photos from this week. I was sad to say goodbye to the end of the dolphin trips that I have enjoyed so much. I know I’ll enjoy my last few days on Bimini – working hard on finishing up data tasks, but having fun too. So, stay tuned!
All that splashes,