Saturday morning we awoke to a rain storm that lasted well into the afternoon. Being “forced” to stay indoors provided the DCP team plenty of time to work on photo IDs, data entry, and field reports. Unfortunately, the presentation we expected to give to the Chicago County Day School students aboard the Coral Reef II was canceled due to poor weather. But the boat will be around Bimini for the next few days so we hope to have another chance to meet with them later this week!
Just after 3 PM, we departed from the Sea Crest marina and began our daily search for dolphins. It only took about an hour to spot a group of nine bottlenose dolphins crater feeding and we stopped to begin underwater observations of them. As Nicole, Dr. Kaplan, Mathew, and half the students entered the water, Garion stayed behind to log data on the event. The encounter lasted roughly half an hour before we exited and continued our search (with the hope of encountering Atlantic spotted dolphins). We were extremely lucky—only twenty minutes later we spotted seven Atlantic spotted dolphins crowded around the bow of our vessel! They were extremely interactive and rode in the wake of our bow. Unfortunately, our friendly group of Stenella frontalis left the area as soon as the humans entered the water, though Nicole was able to identify Prince William (#64) and Tim (#69) as they swam by. It turns out (from our few photos) that Buster (#04), Juliette (#12) and un-named #101 were there, too! That brief sighting concluded our day and we set course back to the harbor. The DCP team spent the evening wrapping up loose-ends and relaxing a bit with popcorn and a movie. Just another day in paradise!
Until the next one,
Garion, Mathew, Nicole & Kel