December Dolphins

On Wednesday, I joined – in a somewhat unofficial capacity – a dolphin trip with Neal Watson’s Bimini SCUBA Center. As this is the off-season for dolphin trips, opportunities limited to search for DCP ID#104 (WDP’s “Lamda”), the Atlantic spotted dolphin who stranded in August, was rehab’d and then released in late October. I filled the guests in on #104 and my hope of the day…

Soon, there were dolphins! No #104, but it was a large group of bottlenose dolphins. They seemed to be crater feeding, so I grabbed the surface camera while the boat crew positioned the boat for the guests to enter the water. The dolphin group then split up, with some dolphins heading north. Right around the same time, I wondered if I saw a tiger shark swim past the boat….Hmmmm…We stuck with the three feeding dolphins and the guests were not disappointed! And I have plenty of photos to sort and match to our photo-ID catalog.

Once the dolphins and the people had their fill, we continued north for a quick search for #104. Soon, I was sure I saw a shark! Was it a tiger? That I can’t be sure of, but it was hearty and it wasn’t a nurse shark. We didn’t make it too far before the crew decided seas were too rough to keep searching; better to head back while the guests were all still glowing from their crater feeding observations!

Though I am wishing we could have laid eyes on #104, I was happy to be out searching. And, pleased to chat with the boat crew who did see him on Sunday. They described that he wasn’t clearly “with” other dolphins, but appeared in good shape and was eager to ride the bow of the boat. So, this description will just have to tide me over until I can see him myself!

Ongoing thanks goes to the Chicago Zoological Society team who continues to update us daily on #104’s movements and Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization for coordinating funding for the searches.

Until next time,