My fingers had been crossed all week as I hoped for good weather on Saturday. This time of year, I don’t get to join many dolphin trips, but I look forward to them whenever they do come up. Although I felt a bit rusty, I was excited as I headed to the dock Saturday afternoon.
It was a great remainder of our program with Linzi from DE-Project BEACH. On Saturday we were up early for our cleanup of Radio Beach in Alice Town. Kel represented DCP Conservation Member Sarah (thanks Sarah!) and Linzi brought bags, gloves and Ocean Conservancy data cards.
On Friday Kel welcomed Dolphin Encounters/Project BEACH educator, Linzi, to Bimini. The day started at Sea Crest Hotel & Marina and with a half-island tour. After a “quick” lunch at Capt. Bob’s we got ready to check in with Al, expecting the decision to cancel our afternoon dolphin trip. Why did we think this? Well, perhaps the thunder we heard throughout lunch had something to do with it! But, no! The squalls were clearing out in time to search for dolphins. Even better? We were joined by three fantastic ladies.
Although all boat trips were cancelled Friday – Monday (24-27 August), I did have a great talk on Monday evening with this week’s guests. They had not even seen the dolphins yet, but they were engaged and eager to learn and share dolphin stories. Still, it was great to be back on the water Tuesday afternoon.
Just a quick update: everything is fine here on Bimini! We did all our storm preparations, just in case the storm strengthened and/or shifted its path. Although last Saturday and Sunday were quite wet and windy, everything on the island was okay.
Sunday, 19th of August was brought a new batch of Hunter College students to Bimini. I spent the morning in search of the dolphins (with the visiting photographer), while students had orientation back onshore. We searched and searched for dolphins, but they were not to be found. In the afternoon, we had the same luck, despite the boat full of eager students. We kept our optimism though and on Monday, we were not disappointed. First, I spent the morning with a small film crew, working on the live-action portion of an upcoming program, featuring dolphins, to air on PBS.
Our first week with Hunter College was so busy that there was no extra time to post field reports! I hope you’ll forgive this belated summary of the week:
On Sunday 12 August, week one of two began with ten Hunter College students, their instructors and two bonus guests photographing throughout the week for an upcoming National Geographic story on dolphin cognition. The dolphin success for the week ran the gamut, with bottlenose and spotted sightings, as well as mixed species groups.
Friday was Pam’s and Liana’s last day on Bimini. We started the day off with our second talk aboard the Coral Reef II, this time to a small group of middle-schoolers from Chicago. It was great to be back on the boat, especially with such a welcoming crowd. This time, Pam and Liana got to participate a little bit more in the talk, which was great experience for us. The kids were very well informed and were able to answer a lot of our interactive questions. It was a pleasure to give a talk to such a nice group.
Thursday, we (Liana and Pam) went to the Shark Lab (aka Bimini Biological Field Station) in the morning. We listened to a talk about the research they do, and were able to see the pens they keep out back which are full of rays, baby lemon sharks, and baby nurse sharks. We got to touch the sharks and even got to hold a Bimini Boa! It was very interesting to learn about other research projects that are going on around Bimini.
This morning the three of us did a beach clean up! This clean-up was sponsored by DCP Conservation Member Christine – thank you! We chose the area around the south point of North Bimini because it is known to be an area where a lot of trash ends up and is close to the ocean (but, what isn’t close to the sea in Bimini?!). We picked up lots of stuff, including lots of plastic and styrofoam, aluminum cans, and even a couple of shoes! In total, we collected 11 bags of trash and 3 bags of recycling.