The start of the 2011 Bimini season really may spoil us. The weather was again stunning and the water was crystal clear. We departed with Al Sweeting Jr. at 14:30 and were with dolphins a mere hour later. There were nine dolphins – it appeared to be eight bottlenose and a single adult spotted. It is quite rare to have a mixed species group with bottlenose outnumbering spotteds. They were very active at the surface and not the least bit interested in us. Nearby there were a slew of other dolphins, so we went to check them out. There were well over 30 dolphins in the area, breaking apart into smaller subgroups. Over the course of the early afternoon we saw Romeo (#10), Lone Star (#56), Speedy (#78), Addie (#84), Tilly (#87) and I think Cerra (#38). Un-named #95, a young male who was just added to the catalogue last season, was also in the mix. Romeo (#10) is pictured here – with her tell-tale, blunt dorsal fin.

At 1721, as the dolphins were on the move, we decided to head back toward Bimini to see if we could catch up with a different group. We were not disappointed! We observed a total of six Atlantic spotted dolphins, as well as two sizeable nurse sharks. Four were older calves, including un-named #93. There was one young juvenile, who was just getting its first spots and an older juvenile male. I’ll need to review the catalogue to determine if this is a new animal! The youngsters were very entertaining to watch – they chased a boxfish, ate a sand tilefish and played with a sea cucumber! What a day!

No trips on the schedule for the rest of the week, but hopefully some more next week.

Until then,

Kel

Saturday’s amazing dolphin trip included a combination of passengers, many from Bimini Undersea and some from Bimini Adventures. It was great having everyone onboard – including the combo crew! The weather was absolutely stunning; it was definitely the best weather day of the week. We were not in the ‘dolphin grounds’ for long when we saw six bottlenose dolphins. They were on the move, but I think at least three will be matches to already catalogued animals. Re-sightings are so exciting!

But, of course, the day only got better. We soon saw a large (20+) group of spotteds, including Lone Star (#56). As the day progressed, we also saw Buster (#04), Tina (#14), Prince William (#64, aka Billy), Tim (#69), Speedy (#78), Tilly (#87), un-named #24 and 40 and of course, the leaping calf pictured here. It’s also possible that Vincent (#11) was there, but I’ll need to review video.

In addition to these spotteds, we saw more offshore bottlenose dolphins! I can’t help but wonder if these dolphins are taking a rest on Bimini’s shallow bank after a long bout of travel. Whatever has brought them to Bimini’s shallows – and the spotted dolphins – I’m very much enjoying these observations!

Finally, we saw a mixed species group, with Atlantic spotted and ‘coastal’ bottlenose dolphins – the ‘ecotype’ we typically see here in Bimini. There was a lot of ‘mating,’ but the group appeared to be all male. Very interesting observations; I can’t wait to review the video! But, first, another trip tomorrow!

Until then,

Kel

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