We are happy to welcome Dr. Daisy Kaplan back to Bimini! This time, she is accompanied by Dr. M and students from Hunter College and Manhattan College. Just after lunch, Kel visiting the group and gave a crash course in still photograph for photo-ID. The students seemed eager to collect useful photographs for DCP! With a warning that the conditions would be windy, we departed the Sea Crest shortly after 1500.
We didn’t wait long to give the students their “gear check” swim – the chance to practice getting on and off the boat and to test their masks, fins and snorkels. The group did a great job, especially considering the challenging conditions. We then resumed the search for dolphins, but everyone’s expectations were low. Suddenly, one of the students was the first to spot a dolphin cruising right next to the boat! It turned out to be three young adult Atlantic spotted dolphins, including Split Jaw (#22), Prince William (#64) and possibly Tim (#69). As this trio came on and off the bow, the big group of dolphins was just ahead! With at least 14 dolphins in the group, it was soon time to give an underwater observation a try.
Throughout the rest of the afternoon we had four total water entries and saw Romeo (#10) and her calf, Noodle (#94) and her calf, Stefran (#82) and her calf, “the boys” (Split Jaw, Prince William, Tim and Speedy, #78) and un-named #75. Hopefully we’ll get even more IDs once we review the photos and video. We saw Romeo rub her fluke in the sand, Prince William take a break from the dolphins to cruise, whistling, through the human group and big, tight formations of adults slowly cruising through. It was a wonderful first day – despite the wind – for the visiting students and researchers!
Meanwhile, Nicole had been up since the wee hours of the morning making her way from New England to Bimini! The Kel-Nicole duo is back in action, just the way it should be. We’re ready for an amazing final four weeks of the 2016 Bimini research season! Keep following to hear all the fun updates!
Kel & Nicole