Tuesday was the Hunter and Manhattan College group’s last day on Bimini. For their final boat trip we departed from the dock just after 1400, a tad earlier than usual, to do a bit of snorkeling before commencing the search for dolphins. Our snorkel stop was at Bimini Road (known by some as the Road to Atlantis, or some variation of this name). After the students had explored the site, they returned to the boat and we began our search. With the wind disturbing the water and the clouds closing in it was rather difficult to see much of anything. Nevertheless, about 45 minutes after we left Bimini Road two of the students spotted something at 3 o’clock! It took us a few minutes to find them again but they turned out to be two bottlenose dolphins (good job students!). Even though we stayed in the same spot for 10 minutes, it was hard to tell what this pair was doing–they did not stay at the surface for very long. We were able to collect a few photos of their dorsal fins before we lost sight of them completely and proceeded on our way.
As we continued our travels, a squall to the northwest was moving closer, bringing large clouds that were blocking the sun. It’s surprising how difficult it is to see dolphins from a distance without sunlight but it was well-illustrated for us when the next group of dolphins we saw basically found us–they were less than 10 feet from our starboard side! If they hadn’t surfaced so close we likely would not have seen them at all. This was a group of at least four bottlenose dolphins. Unfortunately, with the impending rain and increasing winds we could not stay to observe these dolphins, or even linger to take surface photos. As we got closer and closer to the channel entrance we tried harder and harder to see something in the water. We even turned back and retraced our path for a few minutes to be sure there wasn’t anything we had overlooked. Unfortunately, the dark sky made our efforts futile so we returned to the harbor, slightly more on-time than our previous trips.
It was not the most dolphin-packed last day for this university group but they did get to enjoy the natural wonders of the Bimini reefs. They also had many great dolphin days during their time with Bimini Adventures which left the students with smiles on their faces and amazing stories to share! DCP is grateful to Dr. Kaplan and Dr. M for including us in their Bimini visit. We look forward to seeing them again next year!
The next few days are off the boat for us but keep an eye out for some updates of our goings-on on the island!
Until next time,
Kel & Nicole
PS: Did you read about Nicole’s and Dr. Kaplan’s big announcements? Check out the latest issue of The Dolphin Gazette!