Friday was a busy day. Nicole & Salma began their final day on Bimini with the sunrise, and continued to make the most of their final hours on-island by exploring and picking up last minute treats (can you say Mr. Charlie’s Bimini bread and guava jam?!). Sadly, all too soon, the water taxi was calling them, figuratively speaking, and they headed to South Bimini for their flights back to the US.
Thursday was our (Salma’s and Nicole’s) last full day on Bimini. Though we are sad to go, we wanted to make the most of the time we had left. Our day began with a visit to the Shark Lab on South Bimini. There we learned about the different species of sharks found around the islands and were able to “meet” some lemon and nurse sharks. We also had the chance to hear all about the incredible things the scientists at the Shark Lab have been doing.
After a quick lunch, we set off on the boat with Bimini Adventures.
Wednesday morning began with a beach clean-up here on the island. We did a loop that extended out to the water and into the trees. It was astounding to find so much trash hidden and buried beneath sand, soil, trees, and even more garbage! It was really eye opening to see all the forms of trash that will never integrate into and benefit the ecosystems in which they have been put.
Tuesday was a busy day beginning with a presentation on the importance of, and skills required for, photo identification. The Hunter College students were very engaged, asking many good questions, and Salma and Nicole learned a lot as well!
After a break for lunch and a bit of computer work, we headed out with Bimini Adventures. A few hours after heading out, Captain Al spotted some splashing in the distance. We headed towards it and came across quite a few spotted dolphins. We caught the attention of two mother-calf pairs who started swimming alongside the boat.
We spent Friday through Sunday off the water. Our time was spent doing as much office work as we could squeeze in with some last minute island activities. Monday started off like any other day, with some work before we would head off to various DCP engagements. First we had a talk with middle school students from the Chicago City Day School onboard the Coral Reef II (CRII). The kids were very eager to listen and to participate in the talk.
Thursday began as a beautiful and sunny, though quite breezy, day. We put in a few hours of work and then set off on our dolphin quest as usual. By this time, some clouds had set in and we knew it might mean rain for us out on the water. Sure enough, just an hour after setting out we encountered our first rain storm. After scrambling to protect the equipment that is not waterproof, the rain stopped.
Wednesday was another great day on the water for DCP! We started our boat trip by stopping at “The Bimini Road”, a popular snorkeling site, to explore for a bit.
Tuesday was a full day for the DCP Bimini team. The group of international guests had enjoyed our presentation and interactive discussion so much last week that they asked for us to return. We met with them at the Sea Crest Hotel in the morning and answered a variety of questions about dolphins, DCP and a few of the research questions at which the DCP has looked.
Monday was a long, full day out at sea for DCP! We started off by hopping aboard with Bimini Adventures and the international guests for a snorkel trip and lunch on the ocean. The sun was shining and the water was a refreshing relief from the heat and so everyone took advantage of our stop and cooled off near the reef. After our water time, we were all back on board for some lunch before we began our search for dolphins.
Our search for dolphins was quite a long one.
Friday and Saturday were days off the boat for DCP so we filled them with social quality video analysis, data entry and laundry. Nicole’s family also came for a quick visit and she gave them the full Bimini experience, including delicious Bahamian cuisine and a tour of the island. On Sunday morning they went paddle boarding around the mangroves with Katie from Bimini Sands and they saw sting rays, lemon sharks, sea stars, lots of fish, and even an eagle ray!
Sunday afternoon was another boat trip for the DCP team.