Saturday sure was a busy day! It was the last day that we got to join Behind the Mask out on the Sea Crest boat for fun dolphin searching. The day before I was able to finally meet the new intern, Frankie, and help her get acquainted with Bimini. I’m so excited to get to work with her and show her all the ropes of the DCP!
I think Captain Al can agree when I say, we got extremely lucky about the boat traffic on Saturday’s boat adventures. It was a little crowded getting out of the harbor, but once we were out searching for dolphins, there wasn’t a boat in sight! What were in sight were two dolphins! Within an hour we saw two spotted dolphins straight ahead. After recording the coordinates of our location with the GPS, I ventured to the bow of the boat so I could get a closer look at any distinct spot patterns. Low and behold, Leslie (#80) was waiting patiently for a bow ride alongside a C2 individual (her calf, perhaps?). The water was so clear that I could easily see Leslie’s constellation of white spots on the right side of her peduncle that configure into the shape of a flower. While I was taking videos of these two dolphins, Al was able to spot two more spotted dolphins in the distance. Once we got closer I could easily tell that we were visited by Tina (#14) and her calf. Tina and her calf are dead giveaways because of the distinct notch in her calf’s dorsal fin. They also came to the bow in hopes of a bow ride and Leslie’s calf gave us quite the show. On the little calf’s side was a huge remora, and the calf definitely did not appreciate the extra weight. The calf tried desperately to knock the remora off its body by swimming at full speed then propelling itself four feet into the air! It didn’t seem like any of the calf’s attempts were successful, however, and we could still see the remora on its belly. When we departed from Leslie and Tina, the calf still had its remora suctioned onto its stomach, and we hoped it would get the annoying fish off its little body soon enough.
We continued our search for more dolphins since we still had an entire afternoon ahead of us. A couple hours later we came across a group of 12 spotted dolphins. The film crew was quick to enter the water and start filming the playful dolphins. I was able to spot Sulfur (#102) from the surface. She is so easy to spot because of the two round notches in her dorsal fin! Soon the dolphins departed and the film crew was able to shoot their dream shot. Everyone was excited about the luck of the day and how playful the dolphins were. We started to turn around to make the long journey home and not too long afterwards, we came across Split Jaw (#22) and a C3 individual! They stayed on the bow for quite a while, giving me a good look at Split Jaw’s split rostrum. It was definitely a great day full of dolphin identifications! Soon enough we were back at the Sea Crest dock and ready to turn in after a long day out on the boat.
-Nat (& Frankie & Kel!)