A beautiful day in the – dolphin – neighborhood

Wednesday was another great day in Bimini. We headed out confident (as always) that we would see our spotted (or bottlenose) friends. We got a quick glimpse of what appeared to be a lone bottlenose dolphin, but it appeared to be actively avoiding the boat – so we headed on our way. With the sun setting earlier these days, we were beginning to worry about not seeing more dolphins as the sun dipped lower and lower in the sky.

Ah, spotted dolphins!

We departed the dock shortly after 1600 today, anticipating some less-than-calm seas. Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad and even improved as the afternoon wore on. While we were all looking forward, scanning the ocean for dolphins, we suddenly saw an Atlantic spotted dolphin calf behind the boat, leaping toward us. Apparently this little ‘guy’ wanted to be seen! The dolphins were very active and we hopped in the water for some observations in their world. This first swim was a nice and our second swim was even better and longer.

And we waited…

Thursday’s dolphin trip was the final trip of the week run by Al Sweeting, Jr. We all descended upon the boat, ready for dolphins, even if we were a bit tired from these busy weeks! I had seen a manta ray cruising the beach earlier in the morning so I was keeping my eyes peeled for that. I was so focused that I nearly missed the bottlenose dolphins right in front of me! Very close to the harbor entrance we saw a group of bottlenose dolphins who at first appeared to be feeding.

Early bottlenose, very late spotteds

After the usual morning of email, paperwork and housework, I headed to the Sea Crest Hotel & Marina for a noon Intro to DCP talk to this week’s passengers (visiting researchers and students). As usual, it was a great audience – thank you! We departed the dock slightly early (1430) so that everyone could have a chance to snorkel the Bimini Road (aka “Atlantis”). Then it was time for dolphins…. We saw three different groups of bottlenose dolphins, with the second being just a “fly-by” from what appeared to be a lone dolphin.

A spotted-filled day!

Tuesday’s dolphin trip was filled with Atlantic spotted dolphins. The different dolphin groups all seemed to be traveling in a southerly direction, but some were more focused on this travel than others! That was the case with our first group of spotted dolphins, including White Blotch (#29), her calf, un-named #94, Trudy (#57) and six other, unknown animals. They were really on the move! We saw our second group of dolphins shortly after. The group size began at four and grew to at least 14 animals, including Lone Star (#56) and Stefran (#82).

FLAT Seas!

We departed the dock shortly after 1500 and soon were observing a group of traveling bottlenose dolphins. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some IDs from the photos! Since this week’s boat passengers (visiting researchers and students) are more interested in spotted dolphins, we headed in search of them. Soon, we were watching a group of at least 10 Atlantic spotted dolphins, including Trudy (#57), Tilly (#87) and un-named #92 and #93.

There were dolphins, then more dolphins and then, well, more dolphins!

Sunday’s dolphin trip was very overcast and we were worried this would make it difficult to see the dolphins. Ha! They made sure to prove us wrong! We departed the dock at 1511 with Bimini Adventures and by 1628 we were eagerly watching a group of at least 4 bottlenose dolphins! They seemed to be on the move, so we were too. Moments later, we saw a separate group of 2 bottlenose dolphins.

Just in time

After four days of weather challenges and no dolphin sightings, today was the day. The sea was wonderfully flat and although this made things very warm, it was a welcome change over the rough, stormy weather at the beginning of the week. We were all diligently searching for dolphins and then, halfway into the trip, there they were. We knew it was a lot of dolphins, but we were amazed when our count reached 28 Atlantic spotted dolphins! At times, the group was quite cohesive and at others, somewhat scattered.

A calm, postcard day

Wednesday finally looked like the Bimini we are used to: sunshine and calm seas. We departed the dock in mid-afternoon and passengers were soon snorkeling at 3 Sisters. There was some trepidation regarding a nurse shark and lots of squealing when folks noticed the very curious remora. Lots of good fish and snorkel practice for everyone though. As we headed in search of dolphins, we were all confident that we would see many. They must have had other plans though, as we did not see them all afternoon.

A busy day, but no dolphins…

Tuesday began with an Intro to DCP talk to this week’s guests, a group of visiting researchers and students. After lunch, it was boat time. Although we still had squalls in the area, it was much sunnier than the previous two days. In fact, on Monday, it the squalls were so bad, they sent us back to the dock less than one hour after we departed. Today, the skies were clearer, but the seas were a bit rough. We diligently kept our eyes open for dolphins, but unfortunately, we saw none.