Since the 70´s and 80´s dolphin research has been conducted in the Bahamas. In that same period dolphinaria popped up all over the world and the movie series "Flipper" made its appearance.
Luckily, nowadays we know better and less and less dolphins are kept in captivity.
Treasure hunters looking for galleons and their bounty used sandblowing machines which would clear the sand off wreck sites, but would also stirr fish and other edible creatures.
Dolphins would often happily come and make use of this banquet.
Denise Herzing started her study on dolphins inspired by researchers like Jane Goodall and Dianne Fossey. Goodall and Fossey studied animals in their natural habitat which was exactly what Herzing wanted to do.
The Bahamas was the ideal study location due to its shallow, warm waters with excellent visibility.
Due to the duration of the research the Bahamian dolphin population is probably the best documented dolphin community in the world.
Luckily for us, over time the dolphins of the Bahamas have become very much used to people in their surroundings.
Especially the Atlantic Spotted dolphins seem to enjoy interaction with humans, probably helped by the abundance of prey which allows them more time to go and have fun..
A special moment during our recent trip was when we encountered a group of bottlenose dolphins "craterfeeding" in about 12 meters of water.
Never had our experience in freediving come in handy so well.
Two male bottlenose dolphins came to check us out after they had sent off the babies and female dolphins.
Once we were accepted they uninterruptedly continued their foraging behavior.
Craterfeeding is incredible and the bottlenose dolphins are so well equipped for the job.
It was pretty damn cool to see how the bottlenose dolphins shaped the underwater landscape with their behavior.
Research also documented that nurse sharks and dolphins have a rather special relationship.
Often we would find nurse sharks following the dolphins as they discard the leftovers of their catch (yes, pretty fuzzy eaters, those dolphins...).
Nurse sharks are the vaccuumcleaners, cleaning the ocean floor after the dolphins!
Lastly we also encountered quite a bit of plastic in the sea. One of the Atlantic spotted dolphins was playing with a single-use plastic bag.
We´d rather see them play with seaweed (which often happens with for example Sargassum weed) than with this disgusting black plastic bag.
The dolphin actually had quite a bit of trouble removing the bag from its mouth since it kept swimming forward which made the plastic float into its mouth..
Luckily it released the bag which Sandy quickly confiscated to be disposed off properly.