Final Farewell, Eh?

We began our Wednesday discussing eco-tourism – the meaning of it as well as the pros and cons. We then did some more photo-ID on the previous day’s adventure. We confirmed the presence of Finn (#09), Romeo (#10), Lil’ Jess (#35), Tim (#69) and ID#92, as well as one other un-catalogued calf. After lunch we reviewed our video data from 2 and 4 May that involved lots of water – and dolphins. We identified Leslie (#80) from the video, which was not captured in any of the still photographs.  We left the dock at 15:29.

An eventful day!

We began Tuesday with a discussion of last night’s movie and the concept of “play.” We moved onto a talk about the senses of dolphin senses. Some videos were shown illustrating different behaviors of several dolphin species. Our long lost, fellow classmate arrived just in time for some more photo-ID. We were able to confirm that Tim (ID#69) was present during Sunday’s observations.   We left the dock at 1529. On our way out of the harbor, some of us spotted an eagle ray cruising north. At 1704 we had our first sighting of six Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Dolphins Wanted

We began Monday learning about sampling methods for observing behavior and discussed how dolphins use sound to communicate in their ocean environment. We learned the role of their melon and air sacks for making sound and using echolocation. We then moved onto photo-ID of the photographs we took yesterday. We were able to confirm the following IDs: Romeo (#10), White Blotch (#29), Lil’Jess (#35), Nemo (#76), Speedy (#78), un-named #92 (#48’s calf) and possibly ID#71. White Blotch is pictured here with 2 young dolphins in the background. We departed the dock at 1527.

An awesome day!

We kicked butt (over last year’s group!) during our morning Photo-ID practice session. We left the dock at 1411, heading out to the same snorkeling site as yesterday. Leaving the harbor we saw a mystery shark (bull?) and a manta ray! It was a dark manta, lacking the light coloration on its ventral side. These types are not generally seen around Bimini. While we were snorkeling, we found a stingray buried beneath the sand.

First dolphin sighting of the week!

Saturday was Day 1 of the 2010 Field Course with University of New Brunswick! Half of the group arrived around 900, as they only had to travel from the “Shark Lab” on South Bimini, having just completed a course there. The rest of the group arrived later in the morning from Florida.

Well, hello adult spotted dolphins…

Friday’s dolphin trip was filled with enthusiastic passengers. We left the harbor shortly before 1600 with Bill & Nowdla Keefe. This winter has been particularly windy, so we were eager to be on the boat in calm seas! Our first sighting was of 3 – 4 bottlenose dolphins. The group was traveling and showed no interest in the boat. So, after a quick glimpse, we continued in search of more dolphins.

A spring dolphin trip

I was very excited to head out on Saturday’s dolphin trip with Nowdla Keefe as it had been quite awhile since I’d been out. It was a bit windier than the forecast had called for, but the boat was full of guests eager to see dolphins. The harbor was very busy because of Easter weekend and we were soon headed to the “dolphin grounds.” As often happens, the guests were beginning to lose hope and then….there were dolphins! At first we saw 2 adult Atlantic spotted dolphins.

Spotted, bottlenose and a shark – oh, my!

Today’s winter dolphin trip was spectacular. Nowdla Keefe had small group of passengers and everyone was thrilled that the sun was shining and the seas were calm. On the way out of the harbor we passed a shark, but our thoughts were on dolphins. We were busy early as a small group of bottlenose dolphins appeared to be feeding. They had no interest in the boat, so after everyone got a good look (and I got some ID shots) we headed in search of spotteds.

A beautiful winter day in Bimini!

Today was the first dolphin trip of 2010 and it was a fantastic day. Bill & Nowdla had a small, but excited group of passengers and we were all ready to see the dolphins. The seas were flat, the sun was shining and it wasn’t long before Nowdla spotted them – the spotted dolphins, that is! The boat headed toward them and we soon saw Lil’ Jess (#35), White Blotch (#29) and White Blotch’s calf, ID#94.

Welcome bottlenose ID#38!

New Year’s Day was spent sorting through photographs from the past week’s dolphin trips. I am thrilled to start the new year with a new bottlenose dolphin! Welcome Tt38! The Tt in the ID code stands for Tursiops truncatus, the Latin (aka scientific) name for bottlenose dolphins. This allows us to immediately reference the species – so we don’t confuse Tt38 with Atlantic spotted dolphin #38 (“Cerra”).