Tuesday began with getting organized: boat bag, data sheets, cameras, supplies for group talk…and mundane tasks like laundry. When you live at the file site full time, some parts of life are quite ordinary! At 1300 I was at the Sea Crest, surrounded by eager Bimini Adventures guests. As they ate their lunch, I gave them background on myself, DCP and the dolphins off Bimini. They asked absolutely fantastic questions and there was never a lull in conversation. These interactions truly are one of my favorite parts about leading DCP’s Bimini field site. Thank you, everyone!
At 1500, it was time to go in search of dolphins! The seas were calmer than the guests had on Sunday and there were no complaints about that. We searched along the coastline, but it wasn’t until we approached two hovering freighters that Captain Audley spied the dorsal fins. At least four bottlenose dolphins were scattered about. They didn’t form a close group, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t interacting under the surface. Though the situation didn’t seem conducive to underwater observations, the guests were ready for a swim break. So, with dolphins in the general area they geared up and hopped in. As they cooled off, they even had a dolphin check them out! Sadly, this dolphin had a pretty nasty, fresh injury on its back. Thankfully, the dolphins in this area heal very quickly – hopefully this one will be no exception!
We continued our search and it sure took a while! But, our efforts were rewarded as Captain Al spied a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins in the distance. It was a group of about 10; from the boat, I quickly spied Tina’s calf and assumed she was in the area. Because it was getting late, we didn’t waste any time getting in the water. Once I hopped in, I noticed about 8 juveniles, who seemed to be divided into two “teams” – a group of 3, including Paul (#99), and a group of 5. There were not many vocalizations that I could hear, but there was a lot of swimming around with open mouths. I wondered if this was the equivalent of a schoolyard scuffle…
As the juvenile group got farther away, I heard the boat crew calling, “Look down! Headed your way!” Sure enough Tina (#14) and her calf were sneaking up behind us. We ended up have a really nice observation of them as they took turns playing with a single, thin piece of seagrass. It’s always so funny to me when the dolphins choose to play with such small things. The humans all got some great looks at the mom & calf pair and back onboard the boat the chatter about the experience plentiful!
Today was just the day I needed to get even more excited about Nicole’s return tomorrow and leading DCP’s group next week. Weeeee!
Until next time,