The wind forecast was no-good for a dolphin trip, so I really did think that yesterday’s trip was the last of 2009. But, Mother Nature surprised us and we had a New Year’s Eve dolphin trip! The seas were calm and the passengers excited (especially those with birthdays!). We headed out, keeping our eyes open. Then, we saw it. Well, we saw them. Bottlenose dolphins coming right at us! We soon realized that the dolphins were scattered all about.
It was a slightly choppy day in the dolphin grounds, but the sun was shining! We didn’t get a chance to see any spotted dolphins, but we did four bottlenose dolphins! They were surfing the swells and it even looked like they might have been pursuing some small fish. If that was the case, it may be the first time I have ever seen bottlenose dolphins feeding in any way other than bottom grubbing (aka crater feeding).
I was thrilled to see calm seas for today’s dolphin trip! Too many weeks passed without a dolphin trip! Bill & Nowdla had a great boat full of excited passengers and all eyes were scanning the sea. Unfortunately, there were no dolphins to be found. We did enjoy a close-up of a large loggerhead turtle as “he” rested at the surface though.
I spent my day off on the boat. I didn’t mean to see dolphins, but there they were! It was a large group of bottlenose dolphins. They were fairly scattered and traveling slowing.
After some time away, I returned to Bimini just in time for a dolphin trip. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time to prepare the MVA, but I took advantage of the chance to take some still photographs for our ID catalog. A group of 7-8 Atlantic spotted dolphins were soon seen just off the bow! In this group were Swoosh (#36), un-named #25 and this as-of-yet un-ID’d adult, all with what appeared to be their own calves. Un-named #91 was also in the group and all of the dolphins were playing each other and the plentiful seaweed.
Sunday’s dolphin trip was, well, incredible. The seas were flat clam and the water was crystal clear – well, except for what looked like jellyfish post-blender. We headed out on the early side (14:21) and by 14:58 we had at least 25 dolphins in our sights. They were on the move, but I was able to ID Romeo (#10), White Blotch (#29), Lil’ Jess (#35), Lone Star (#56), Billy (#64), and un-named #78.
Today’s surprise dolphin trip was the 60th of 2009! At first glance, I thought the sea conditions were going to result in a bumpy ride, but I was pleasantly surprised. We had to be patient today as we waited for the dolphins. First, we saw two spotteds and I believe Tina (#14) was one of them. They were surfing the small swells though and did not show any interest in the dolphin boat. Shortly after that we saw another group of dolphins.
While the seas have not been completely flat, they have been much more enjoyable than earlier this week. So, we thought for sure we would see some of Bimini’s spotted dolphins. On Thursday we had a part exciting, part frustrating day (at least it was for me). We did see a group of 6 spotted dolphins and although guests (and myself) did not get a good look at the dolphins underwater, we did enjoy the show from the boat. But, here’s the exciting part: I am suspicious of these dolphins.
The strong east winds finally quieted this afternoon. It was much appreciated! The boat guests first enjoyed a snorkel at the “3 Sisters” before we headed into the “dolphin grounds.” It was a much more comfortable boat ride, but unfortunately, we did not see any dolphins.
As the boat prepared to depart the harbor, squalls were looming on the horizon. Luckily, we didn’t get anything more than a sprinkle. We were soon snorkeling at the Bimini Road (aka Atlantis) and the winds calmed to almost a whisper. Unfortunately, the calm seas did not last long and things got a bit bumpy as we tried to search for dolphins. Our commitment was rewarded with a view of at least 3 (possibly 5) bottlenose dolphins.