29 May 2019

Diving with Dolphins: Last Minute Encounter

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Wednesday morning, we got out of the classroom and headed across the harbor to a little mangrove island. It was great to see this endangered habitat first hand, and not just discuss them theoretically. Dr. M squealed when a stingray surprised her and Holly spotted a stingray snoozing in the sand. There was really cool bright orange thing….we think it was a sponge growing on the mangrove. Behind the island, we saw the conch-mounds, conch graveyards of sorts where the local fishers discard their conch shells. Caitie and Gillian spied a baby conch on the way back to the boat and Dr. M found a beautiful, intact bivalve shell and LiEllen thought she found a vacated shell, but soon realized it was still inhabited! Later, she found a really big, beautiful snail. Devin joined Kel’s hydra-sting club, but fear not, she’ll live to tell about it. We watched a little fish who had found shelter in a conch shell; it was cool to watch it go in and out, in and out, in and out. We snorkeled around the mangrove and made our way back to the boat….and that was a workout, swimming against the current. We had a nice gift waiting for us: a ladder. Captain Al showed his modesty, declaring, “I am still the best captain.”

We came back and had delicious baked potato bar. Yum. And then, Boat Part 2 – our last trip in search of dolphins. It was choppier than expected, but still sunny. We saw at least two different turtles, one if which was really close to the dolphins. It took four hours (John was keeping track!) to find the dolphins, but they came through in the end. We came upon a group of eight, including 3 calves. The calves were doing perfect, little leaps out of the water and showing the bellies. One calf went belly up at the surface and started just repeatedly slapping its fluke at the surface. We watched an adult (presumed mom) give one fluke slap and saw the calves race toward it. We got in the water for a hot second and the dolphins cruised past us. Kel and Nicole confirmed Cerra (#38), Niecey (#48), Leslie (#80) and an adult from the White Sand Ridge. We cruised home, pausing to get our group photo. When we got back, some of us wandered the beach before heading to dinner. Post-dinner, the playing cards came back out before we all called it a night.

Until tomorrow,

Roll Kerns (EKU 2019)

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 May 2019 13:24
Kelly Melillo Sweeting

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

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