09 July 2019

The Daily Dolphin: Life is the Bubbles When You Find Dolphins

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Wednesday was one of the hotter days aboard Renegade. We boarded Renegade with all the gear including the GoPro, the surface camera, and the data collection sheet. I was ready to help guests board the vessel to start our journey to look for our daily dolphins. It looked like a cloudy day to be on water, but the sun was still shining strong making it hot on board. As we searched, we thought we saw a splash. As we continued on, we received a radio message from another dolphin-seeking boat that they had just left some dolphins. The captain followed our course to head in the direction where the dolphins could still be. The dolphins were still in that spot and were just cruising along. We waited to start our first encounter because yet another ecotour boat was also interested in watching the dolphins before they headed back home. We joined the DCP passengers for a well-deserved swim break before we tried to start an encounter with the dolphins.

Soon, we pulled up to them and the captain lined up Renegade for a drop. Nat went down the ladder to get her snorkel gear on and grabbed a camera to take still photos of the dolphins. I monitored everything from the surface and practiced taking some pictures of dorsal fins with the surface camera. It’s a skill that still needs some work, but it was a good attempt. Captain Al gave the all clear for the passengers to enter the water, but the dolphins didn’t seem to stick around for long. So, the captain asked the passengers to come aboard but to stay ready in preparation for another drop in the water. Being a new sighting of dolphins, this time the dolphins seemed to be more relaxed than before. Nat, Kel and the guests were able to have a good encounter: Kel is pretty sure she saw Cerra (#38) with a male calf, and Niecey (#48). At several points in the day, Stefran (#82) was also present with her calf – we’ve seen so much of them this week! After some time in the water, Kel called for a switch of teams. I was able to enter the water with team 2.

I was last to enter the water, and it seemed like the other guests in the water were following the dolphins in a different direction. As soon as I entered the water, there was a group of dolphins right under the platform. Naturally, I followed this group away from all the people to try to get some good still photos of these beautiful creatures.

The sight of dolphins on Renegade is always a good day. Having the opportunity to observe the dolphins in their natural environment was a breathtaking sight. Nat and I joined the guests for a delicious dinner because the power still had not returned by the time our journey was over.  We have about a week left at DCP’s Bimini field site, which is a touchy subject because we both don’t want to leave the island. Thankfully, we still have more adventures to come before that time arrives. Adventure is out there!

Cheers,

Taylor and Nat

Kelly Melillo Sweeting

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

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Dolphin Communication Project
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USA

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