Last trip cancelled. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, DCP has had to cancel the last trip, 1-7 September, of this field season.
We had 46 hours and 50 minutes of effort looking for dolphins, from ~4 days at sea Still, the dolphins were our primary goal for this week and we had 18 sightings of spotted dolphins and 4 of bottlenose dolphins. Ten encounters gave us 50 minutes underwater with dolphins while 13 short encounters (less than 3 min each) provided 17 minutes of data underwater. Encounters ranged from 3 to 9 minutes in length. Our largest groups in both the spotted and bottlenose dolphins comprised twelve individuals.
A few bottlenose dolphins and turtles seen today. We conducted a search north towards Memory Rock after hauling anchor to no avail for seeing any spotted dolphins. However, after passing Sandy Cay and approaching Wood Cay, we saw a group of about twelve bottlenose dolphins. They were spread over about 200 by 200 m and included two mother/calf pairs. A few passengers and John and Bill got into the water and briefly saw the dolphins. They were crater feeding: a couple of dolphins vertical with their heads buried past their eyes. Neat to see firsthand.
And, flatter seas with great visbility. The dolphins were leaping, bow-riding, and wave surfing. The two young dolphins were playing with fish and tail slapping at each other. We saw five spotted dolphins: three adult females and two calves. In fact, at first we thought one of the calves was Skippy. But, then we realized… Continue reading Morning brought 5 Spotted Dolphins.
Rain & choppy seas began the day, but dolphins arrived. We had few sightings during the morning, but several sightings in the afternoon. The dolphins seemed mostly to be into their own thing, looking for and chasing needle fish. We did a dinghy search in the morning and then a search from the big boat in the afternoon. We saw a group of more than 12 spotted dolphins while searching from the Hanky Panky. They were more interested in bow-riding than in swimming with any of us in the water.
More than 10 sightings with 3 encounters and a few short encounters. The good weather makes it much much easier to see the dolphins when they are more than 100 meters from the boat. We were just north of Memory Rock when we saw the first group of spotted dolphins. They road the bow and seemed to hang out with the boat for a bit of time. The first group was a mother/calf group with 2 young male calves. The calves were chasing needle fish and zigzag swimming.
Looking for dolphins while heading north. Our departure was a bit delayed for various reasons, but we were able to snorkel a bit more on an artificial reef off the beach at Xanadu. There were several neat fish and a moray eel under one of the big pipes of the reef. Seems this eel has made the reef its home. John and I spent most of the night with Amanda in the Bahamas ER. She had an allergic reaction to a spider bite that became severe.
Everyone got here, winds seemed to decrease, but still hot. Passengers arrived throughout the day with everyone aboard by 6 PM. We had a diverse group with both coasts represented and passengers from California, Connecticut, New York, Virginia and Washington. We even had one passenger from England – Amanda. Janet (Virginia) and Sharon (Washington) were rejoining us while Tori, Bruce, Jan, Gini and Marc were with us for their first DCP dolphin research trip. Everyone got settled and after dinner we discussed boat safety and introduced our dolphin research methods.
Summarizing the trip. From 3,352 minutes of effort, searching for dolphins, we had 15 dolphin sightings: 10 of spotted dolphins and 4 of bottlenose dolphins. We saw #26 and #114 (adult males). I think we also identified #208 but will have to confirm with the slide ID catalog. We also saw a turtle and two nurse sharks (while John and Bill were looking for lobsters – season opened on 1 Aug). We had 4 encounters (3 with spotted and 1 with bottlenose dolphins) that gave us a total of 34 minutes underwater observing dolphins.
A restful night sleep was had by all … We had a couple of bottlenose dolphin sightings this morning … hard to see as the wind speed climbed past 25 mph, but the dolphins were leaping and diving for extended time periods (2-4 min.). We thought the dolphins were feeding because they stopped over the area that we found lobster last night. Maybe the dolphins were having a 'ritzy' breakfast? We took the dinghy over to Sandy Cay and explored the island for about 90 minutes.