Thursday was another day full of bittersweets. Bitter because it was my last day on the island, but sweet because of all the adventures that day held. I woke up early at the ripe time of 6:30 am to start brewing the coffee and to wrap up some of the photo IDs I had been previously working on. Then I strolled over with my fins and mask in hand over to Neal Watson’s Bimini SCUBA Center to go on a two tank morning dive. It was my last time diving on Bimini, and I definitely sad it was my last couple of dives, but I was still excited for what was to come because we were going on a wreck dive. The wreck dive site was about 85 feet to the bottom and there lied four different wrecks. We got to swim through the wrecks and I got a ton of great pictures of parrot fish, lionfish, and a giant green turtle! It was an amazing dive, but the next dive was by far my favorite. We went to a reef called “the strip” and it was just that. A little strip of coral about ten minutes from the wreck site offered an entire array of different fish, shrimp, eels, lobsters, coral, and even reef sharks! It was a beautiful shallow dive, and I never wanted it to end. We got back to the dive shop just in time for lunch. I went back to my cottage and stopped by CJ’s deli to indulge in my last order of conch fritters. The conch is definitely something I will dearly miss about Bimini.
The part I will miss the most, however, are the boat trips out to find dolphins with Bimini Adventures. We set out at 3:00 pm for my last boat trip of the summer, again with Dr. M. It was a nice boat ride out and the sea was very calm. It is always so calming to be out in the ocean off Bimini. After an hour of searching for dorsal fins, we finally came across two dolphins, including un-named #114, who appeared to be cruising (you see them “riding” the bow of the boat in this photo). Not long after we found the two young juveniles did we come across another 14 dolphins. Among them was Niecey (#48) and her calf, Inka (#93), Leslie (#80), and Lil’Jess (#35)! It was so nice to see Leslie and Lil’Jess again on my last day because they were some of the first dolphins I ever swam with and were able to recognize. It was like coming full circle. Dr. M recorded the dolphins from the cameras on the bow of the boat for almost 2 hours! They stayed around the boat for what seemed like forever, which was perfectly fine with me. It was nice to sit on the boat and watch the dolphins play and bow ride for my last day. Then it was that inevitable time to head back home. It was a peaceful ride home and we even had one bottlenose dolphin breech the surface as if it were saying its last goodbye to me. As we entered the harbor I thought about how much I would miss the beautiful sunsets and all the boat rides in and around Bimini.
I am so grateful to have had such an amazing opportunity to work as an intern for the Dolphin Communication Project. It truly has been an experience of a lifetime and something I will never forget; and although I am sad to leave, I am hoping that this is not just a goodbye, but instead a ‘see you later’.
One last time, Cheers!