Video review and data collection

Tuesday morning we began logging last week’s video for IDs. It was the first time Pam and Liana had a chance to review their first attempt at video data collection – they did a great job! Afterwards, we were all excited to get on the water again. As we left the dock, Pam and Liana with Bimini Undersea and Kel with Bimini Adventures, there were many clouds in the sky, but it cleared up as the day progressed.

Wind + Dolphins

On Monday, somewhat high winds threatened to keep us all on shore. As it turned out, Pam & Liana continued their “office” tasks while Kel headed out with Bimini Adventures. We knew the choppy seas might keep us close to shore, but we remained optimistic. Not too long into the trip we suddenly saw a group of 5 bottlenose dolphins, including at least one youngster. Although we saw the group very clearly and quite close to the boat, it was a short-lived sighting as we could not keep our eyes on the dolphins as they surfed the swells.

No dolphins, but sun again!

Saturday’s stormy weather kept us working indoors. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been updating DCP’s Facebook pages – Dolphin Communication Project’s main page as well as pages for each of the dolphins. We hope everyone enjoys these updates!
On Sunday, as we set out with Bimini Adventures, the wind was a bit stronger than usual, but finally the sun we had been missing the last few days had emerged. In the distance were some clouds, but no storm systems that looked threatening as in the past few days.

Our First Bimini Storm!

Pam and Liana called Bimini Undersea religiously on Friday to check for updates on the planned trip. There had been storms off and on all morning, and so we weren’t sure whether the weather would let up for a trip to go out. Luckily, things cleared up enough for us to set off. It was a bit breezier than usual, but sunny. Clouds loomed in the distance, but were far enough away to pose little threat. About twenty minutes into our trip, we spotted a dolphin jumping very high in the distance, putting on quite the show.

Independent Interns

Thursday was the first day that Pam and Liana were separated to go on different boat trips. Pam went with Bimini Undersea, while Liana went with Bimini Adventures. Separating like this allows us to have the best chance of seeing a large amount of dolphins!

Pam had a great day with Bimini Undersea. The boat left under a mostly cloudy but beautiful sky. A little bit less than an hour into our travels, we spotted a group of four bottlenose dolphins. We observed them about ten minutes from the boat, because they were on the move.

Worth the wait for lots of spots!

Wednesday’s trip with Bimini Adventures was the fourth day for the guests, and everyone (including us) was eager for dolphins. While the hot sun beat down on us as we set out, some clouds loomed in the distance, and we all tried to ignore the possibility of any incoming storms. Our trip set out at 13:00, to give the guests the opportunity to snorkel at “The Bimini Road” (aka “Atlantis”). Afterwards, we searched and searched for dolphins but it was beginning to feel hopeless.

A Day of Firsts for the Interns

On Tuesday, Pam and Liana got the opportunity to experience another side of Bimini’s natural world: we joined Bimini Adventures on a trip to Honeymoon Harbor to see and feed sting rays. It was very cool to be able to feed them, especially since it was the first time either of us had ever been with them in the wild or gotten the opportunity to feed them.

Umm, yea. That was a good day.

Our Monday started all together, swapping photos for future ID’ing, catching up our data processing to-do list and getting an introduction to o-ring maintenance and DCP’s TopDawg camera system. Soon, Kel was out with Bimini Adventures, whose trip began with an extended snorkel stop at “3 Sisters” and lunch onboard the boat. After our snorkel, and with full bellies, we headed in search of dolphins. Once again it was bottlenose dolphins that greeted us, this time, two mother/calf pairs.

Bottlenose and Spotteds and Remoras, Oh My!

Pam & Liana headed out Sunday with Bimini Undersea and their 12 guests, 8 of whom were on earlier trips and eager to see dolphins. It was a clear, beautiful day, eventually reaching glassy-calm surface conditions that allowed us to see straight to the bottom even in depths of 40 feet! We saw some interesting new marine life including a sea turtle, a triggerfish, a cushion star, flying fish, and a barracuda. But it was dolphins we were really after. Soon, we saw at least 11 bottlenose dolphins, including at least one calf.

Found some bottlenose, but can we spot some spotted?

We set out on “Adventurer” early on Saturday afternoon with a much bigger crowd than yesterday. We had 16 guests onboard, including a family from Switzerland, another family on vacation and some friends of Bimini Undersea. It was a clear day with minimal cloud cover, and the sun was strong. Everyone on the boat seemed optimistic and ready to see some dolphins! At 14:30, Captain Audley saw our first dolphins. It was a group of 4-5 bottlenose that stuck around the boat for almost fifteen minutes.