02 June 2018

Birthday Surprise

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Beach cleanup is on the docket for Tuesday morning but with the sudden burst of rain I am skeptical about if we will keep the schedule today.  I hear a couple more showers with the water bouncing of metal and wood as I get ready to meet the others at the beach.  Hearing no word of a cancelation I leave for the beach.  Scanning and seeing no one in sight I make my way to the suite.  I find that we are delayed but not canceled.  I go to get some work done and get a little tunnel vision towards the end.  I see the time and rush back to meet at the suite.  I arrive to find that due to the weather we are cancelled today but will try again tomorrow.  I head back to the efficiency grabbing a breakfast sandwich on the way.

I get some work done as time quickly passes and it is almost time for the boat trip.  I get ready and head off to meet the group at the docks.  I arrive and meet up with Nicole and one of the group members.  Shortly after the rest of the group joins us and we find out that it is one of their birthdays.  Kel and Al arrive and inform us that there is some bad weather rolling in but it should pass quickly.  With dark clouds rolling above we are not sure if we are going to have to run for cover.  After the clouds pass leaving us more or less dry it looks like we are in the clear.  We board the boat and start the departure routine.  The water is looking much calmer today and the sun is around.  We get out of the docks and it looks like this is going to be the smoothest and driest trip so far.  We set course to our snorkel destination, The Bimini Road.  I have visited this site once before back in 2014 and read up a little on it yesterday before we went on the outing.  It was predicted by a psychic to appear near Bimini and be the remains of Atlantis.  On our way to the snorkel stop we all have our eyes peeled looking for the evasive dolphins we have been seeking these past couple of trips.  A guest sees something off in the distance that does not seem like waves.  We change course to investigate further.  I focus in on the area in question and confirm that something is not moving like the rest of the water.  Shortly after I can make out what it is, a dorsal fin, no two dorsals, dolphins!  Nicole quickly is atop the bow confirming and counting as a guest and I grab our long lensed surface cameras in hope of snagging a shot.  Nicole confirms two bottlenose dolphins.  We all scan the area but cannot seem to locate the dorsals again or any other sign.  As quickly they appeared they seemed to have vanished.  Kel informs us that this is often the behavior of the bottlenose dolphins.  We look around a little more but to our disappointment we can no longer locate them.  We change heading back to the snorkel location and proceed with our outing.  Everyone is happy we finally got to see what we were looking for but are now desiring more, as a taste is never enough.

We slow as dolphins are the talk around the boat.  I look around in hope of seeing more dolphins but nothing is within sight.  Captain Al informs us that we have arrived at The Bimini Road.  After informing us the direction of the road we gear up, buddy up and get in the water.  We spend some time exploring the road practicing our snorkeling and freediving.  We come along some fish including angel fish.  After we finish looking around and testing our free diving form we head back to the boat hoping to use the rest of our energy swimming with dolphins.  The group boards and we set off hoping for a second sighting.

We pass the time searching the horizon having friendly conversation.  Some of the group is trying to guess my full name so I give them some incentive that I will let them know if they spot some dolphins.  Some afternoon snacks come out as people fuel up hopeful for a swim.  As it has been the best day out on the water so far and we have had one sighting so far we cannot complain.  It gets later into the trip and it looks like we are just going to be enjoying the open water until we return to dock.  A group member says she saw something out in the distance and we change course.  We are alerted to the area in question and everyone is on the lookout now.  It is confirmed with the sight of multiple dorsal fins.  Nicole get on the bow and counts as I do not waste a second this time to grab my camera.  I get some surface shots as Nicole counts five spotted dolphins.  We gear up excited to finally get a swim with the dolphins!  Captain Al lines the boat up into the optimal position as we wait for the go sign.  After receiving the sign we start to slip in the water.  I turn my camera on and there are three dolphins right in front of me.  To further fuel my excitement I recognize one from the distinct fluke!  I try to get good footage of all of them but one swims off shortly after we got in the water.  I proceed to focus in on the other two: un-named #114 and an older calf/young juvenile.  Some of our group members dive down and intrigue them.  You can hear there clicks in the water as we investigate them.  Due to recent storms the water is a little murkier than normal but we do our best to keep them in sight.  After about fifteen minutes it seems they left us.  We head back to the boat satisfied with our encounter.  The trip back is pleasant and calm.  As we approach the dock we are happy with the birthday surprise we all got to participate in.  We secure the boat and thank Captain Al for letting us stay out a little longer than usual.  We part our separate ways hoping to have a similar experience on our next trip.

Until next time,

J.P.

Last modified on Sunday, 03 June 2018 20:53
Kelly Melillo Sweeting

Kel is DCP's Bimini Research Manager, and all around awesome scientist.

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