Blog & Field Reports

Frog on the Blog

Our first day of data collection had us heading to Bailey’s Key at 6 AM! Rupert was early to collect us and waited patiently in the giant AKR chair! We’ll have to see about getting a group photo at this chair sometime this week … but we digress. Our first session this morning went well with surface activity apparently but underwater visibility lacking. We had a few lectures/discussions in the classroom and on the key followed by a snorkel visit to Bailey’s Key. It was a full but fun day!

Arrival in Paradise

In two groups we arrived to Roatan. One from Denver and one from Miami. And we spent a bit of time in the very very long immigration line. But, it was worth the early hour arrival to the airport and the wait. Below are the tired first impressions from our student field course group. You can see their smiling faces after our on-site orientation this afternoon in the photo.

*SHIPPING ALERT: Due to field schedules, print adoption kits received from 24 May - 11 June will be shipping on or about 13 June.

DCP will be joined by a Colorado State University (CSU) student group tomorrow afternoon at Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) and The Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS)! I like to think the dolphins are awaiting our return (maybe with attitude?!) … as evidenced from Tank and Sandy here!

The Final Countdown

Thursday had feelings of excitement and sadness over our final full day in Bimini. After breakfast, we headed to a nearby clinic for our scheduled COVID tests, which are required to get back into the US by plane. But, a neighbor popped his out and told us the nurse was flying in from Nassau and the flight was delayed. He nicely texted her for us and we rescheduled for noon. We’re learning the island speed….when things don’t work out on the first try, you just relax and remember it will work out eventually. Brie & Sophia went to the Straw Market to get some braids in their hair. We all had such nice conversations with the shop keepers, who today called out, “Oh, the girls are back!” when we returned.

On Wednesday, we did our Bimini routine: breakfast and group journal. Next up, something new and exciting: a golf cart tour! Past SHU groups had not done this before, so we were the guinea pigs. Sophia really liked being able to see more of the island, which wasn’t realistic to see on foot during our short breaks. It was almost like a behind the scenes tour, more fully integrating ourselves into the local community. It was surprising to see how empty the large resort was; given all the environmental destruction, we would think it would at least be busy all day long. Nicole’s cart saw an iguana run near the road, just moments after speaking of them.

Tuesday began with…..puppies! Bet you didn’t expect that. We learned that Kel is trained to give vaccinations in between vet clinics, and today was a “pop up” clinic, if you will. There was a 6.5 week old, cuddly, chill puppy for each us to hold while they waited for their shots. They were so quiet and very good as they got their shots. After that, we headed to Bimini SCUBA Center at Bimini Big Game Club with the intent to observe bull sharks from the dock. Upon arrival, we were told that the bulls had not been seen for the last two days and they tend to be very sensitive, leaving the immediate area if another bull shark is killed.

A Cultural Twist

On Monday, we headed to The Dolphin House after breakfast. It was the “coolest thing” Abby has ever seen. Julia was amazed at the artistic nature; it was so much more than a house. Brie was at a loss for words and Sophia was impressed how many similar tiles or shells Mr. Ashley Saunders needs to collect to make a coherent mosaic. It was an architectural and artistic marvel filled with history of Bimini and splashes from around the world. Liv felt it was a very inclusive, inviting place.

Take Us To Your Mothers

On Sunday morning, our class session was on photo-ID. It was fun to investigate photographs, like solving a crime….well, sort of. We felt like investigators pouring over photographs and evidence, looking for patterns. Abby found it pretty cool that DCP can see the patterns, especially on moving animals, through the water. Sophia was surprised at the challenges; in theory, it sounds easy to just match some patterns. Liv commented about the disappointment-like feeling when calves do not have any re-identifiable marking.

On Saturday, we began with breakfast: delicious. Fruit Loops were stellar. During break, Sophia and Abby walked south of our hotel, collecting lots of tile, finding a crab, watching jumping curly tail lizards, and discovering (for ourselves) the Galant Lady. Later, on the boat, Kel told us the story behind its wreck. Brie and Julia went to the beach, where Julia kindly took photos for the cruise ship goers. We have already realized the different vibe of the island when a cruise ship is in. There is so much more golf cart traffic, and lots of tourists acting badly or confused about driving on the left side of the road.