The Daily Dolphin: First Day on The Job

Tuesday’s blog was written by first year intern, Taylor. We hope you enjoy her thoughts!

The anticipation builds as I get closer to the boat. Being a new intern, I had a lot to learn in a quick amount of time. I had to learn how to work the GPS unit, how to take the compass direction of the boat, and how to take accurate field notes and if we could identify any individuals in the water. I was responsible for a lot of information as a new member of the DCP team in Bimini. A lot of things seem familiar to me since this was my third time returning to Bimini, but at the same time I forgot a lot of the beauty this island had to offer. As we head out onto the glass turquoise water, we begin out search for dolphins.

The very first sighting of these beautiful creatures occurred not long after we left shore. We were surrounded by a big group of dolphins that seem to be waiting for us. We could see the dolphins from both sides of the boat and I found myself saying “hello,” as if greeting a friend I have not seen in a while. The visibility was clear, but unfortunately, after the surface dwellers entered the water the dolphins swam off looking for something other than us. This was one of the two big encounters of the day. Being a new intern, it was a lot to keep track of, and write down.

Out of the three encounters that took place today the best one was saved for last. A total of sixteen dolphins were seen at one point during the encounter making it very exciting. Among the individuals Romeo (#10, pictured here), Tina (#14) and her calf (#121), and Weiloo (#110) were present. Nat, my fellow intern, was in the water with the video camera trying to collect as much footage of the individuals as possible. The individuals started to approach the boat from many different directions to contribute to the mass swarm of dolphins in the water. Every instinct in my body wanted to resume my place in the water amongst these beautiful creatures. But as an intern on my first day I watch the encounter happen with a bird’s eye view. I was overwhelmed with excitement watching the dolphins from the surface. Even as the students were approaching the boat at the end of the encounter more dolphins were seen off the back of the boat. After this long encounter I had to write down the GPS coordinates of the boat at the end of the dive, what time the encounter ended, and go down the later to grab the camera from Nat. It was an awesome encounter to end a beautiful day on the ocean.

Today was a successful day of spotting dolphins. Three encounters occurred during our search for S. frontalis. We saw dolphins about six times while on this trip, as opposed to seeing none on the water. Being a new intern with the Dolphin Communication Project, I learned a lot about working in the field with dolphins even though I didn’t get in the water with them today. Students from Hunter and Manhattan Colleges were on the trip today (& all week), so I also socialized with them for a bit. It was a great first day on the job, and I can’t wait to learn more tomorrow!

Until then,