Friday began with a presentation to a group of students from Chicago City Day School aboard the Coral Reef II. The group was filled with enthusiasm for both dolphins and the days of exploring the marine biology of the Bimini area that lie ahead of them. Thank you for your great questions and I hope your trip is going great! I spent the rest of Friday working on data entry before enjoying a much needed day off on Saturday. Today I’m keeping a close eye on the tropics as Tropical Storm Ana and Bill are now out there.
Today’s trip did not disappoint. The boat passengers enjoyed another snorkel at the Bimini Road. But, soon, it was time to search for dolphins. We were lucky enough to come upon a group of Atlantic spotted dolphins at 1803. There were at least 4 individuals; I think that Freckles (#15) and Cleopatra (#41) were in the group with two youngsters, but I’ll need to confirm when reviewing video. After approximately 15 minutes observing the group under water, off they went.
On Monday the group headed out and began their dolphin trip with a snorkel at Bimini Road, aka Atlantis. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, but they were most excited for dolphins. We searched and searched, but unfortunately, we did not see any dolphins….Although disappointed, we all agreed that it was a beautiful boat ride and looked forward to another trip.So, on Tuesday the boat headed out a slightly earlier. And – we were not disappointed! We saw scattered spotted dolphins early and were thrilled to watch as they leapt through the air in pursuit of prey.
Sunday morning began with a heartfelt goodbye to Vicki and Alexis. They are now back in the US, safe and sound. Thank you ladies! As the day progressed, I prepped for a 1500 dolphin trip, but it was pushed back until nearly 1700. This week’s passengers are excited for dolphins (who isn’t?!) and this afternoon they got their feet wet at Bimini’s 3 Sister rocks.
Saturday morning started with excitement, but it was far away from dolphins. Twenty contestants from the Miss Universe contest arrived on Bimini. They were greeted by natives, tourists, junkanoo and a marching band. It was a great celebration! The women (Miss Great Britain, Russia, Georgia, El Salvador, Singapore, France, Spain…just to name a few) were presented with gifts from the island before their island tour, filled, no-doubt, with photo-ops.
Friday’s dolphin trip once again only had one research space available, so Kel headed out solo. We left the dock earlier than usual and everyone was happy to be moving, generating some breeze on yet another very hot day. It was quite sunny out and while we hoped this would help in our search for spotted dolphins, we did not see any spotted dolphins. What we did see was a BIG dolphin leap. Unfortunately, we did not see anything more of that animal. A short time later four bottlenose dolphins surfaced near the boat.
This morning was data, email and program development filled. This afternoon, I had to leave the Vicki & Alexis on land as there was only one research space available on the boat. Today’s lesson: patience. We dodged a large rain squall and regularly asked the sun to come out so that we could more easily see the dolphins when they arrived. But, even though that didn’t happen, the dolphins still found us! In the group of four were Juliette (#12), her calf (#93), Tilly (#87) and un-named #91.
Today was a hot one! We left the harbor right at 1600 and were off to find some dolphins. The boat ride out was a rather calm one with lots of flying fish to keep us company along the way. We stopped at 1724 to jump in the water and cool off so we could continue the search. Sightings in the last few trips have been kind of late so when we hadn’t seen any dolphins by 1800 we weren’t worried. Then, all of a sudden, right at the bow of the boat a group of 8 dolphins showed up
Today began with a nice talk on the R/V Coral Reef II to a group of very inquisitive middle school students from Chicago on DCP, our goals as an organization, and the local population of Bimini dolphins. After a great talk and lots of good questions we were invited to eat lunch with them and talk more about dolphins and how we got to be in this field of research.
We won’t have a boat trip in Bimini today so we’ll spend the afternoon indoors logging video for IDs and pectoral fin contact.