Lots of spots!

The sun is out and the weather looks good on Thursday as I walk down to meet our group for our last boat trip.  Today it looks like we are going to be on the big boat as there was a little engine trouble with the other boat.  We board with purpose today since it is the last day and we have to adhere to a schedule as flights must be made.  After the whole group has boarded we set off.

We approach the sand bar and it looks like a large boat may be stuck.  They seem to be putting out some power but not going anywhere.  As we get closer to them they seem to break free of trouble and start moving.  It seems they are clear of any issues they were having.  We set course hoping to see some action soon.

Not an hour in and Captain Al see some dolphins in our path.  We continue on excited as they seem to be coming to us on the last outing.  I break out the surface camera and snap a few photos as Nicole confirms they are Atlantic spotted dolphins.  We take photos and observe them for a while.  They seem to be on the move but more and more dophins are joining the group.  We get a count approaching twenty dolphins!  I continue snapping photos away as we hope they slow so we can join them in the water.  After a little time goes by we decide we will try to get in the water with them. 

We gear up and get in.  There are a lot of dolphins but they do not seem to sticking around.  We try to keep up but shortly after they leave us.  We board the boat hoping to catch up to them and give it another go.  Back in proximity of the group, we get back in the water a second time.  This time we keep pace with them for a little before they leave us again.  We board the boat knowing that this is not going to work.  We catch back up to the group and decide to observe from the surface until we have to head back to port.  We chat while taking surface photos and enjoying the view.  We have some bow riding going on from time to time along with some feisty fluke slaps.  I take my research hat off and just enjoy the view.  I concentrate on the dolphins and their playful appearance and it transforms into a tranquil moment.  We observe as long as possible and say our goodbyes as we leave the dolphins to head back to port.

Throughout the day, we are readily able to recognize Buster (#04), Romeo (#10, with a calf), Tina (#14, with a distinct calf), Lil’ Jess (#35, with her older calf), Niecey (#48 – with a calf?), Leslie (#80 – with a calf?), Paul (#99), un-named #112 and possibly un-named #117. Stay tuned for details on the addition of Tina’s calf to the catalog and – possibly – a name for #112. Ooooo, the suspense!

A final docking and we conclude our venture.  We say our goodbyes and part ways, satisfied with our week of dolphin adventures.