Bimini Wild Dolphin Encounters
Sabine Hoffmeister's Experience
Sabine Hoffmeister, originally from Germany, now lives in Dublin,
Ireland. She is a sporty woman, 35 years old, who loves swimming
and outdoor activities, which is a rarity in Ireland. Sabine visited
Florida for the first time 4 years. Now, she says that she loves
the state. Sabine got her scuba certification in Florida through
Ocean Promotion Dive Center in Ft. Lauderdale. She participated
in Dolphin Worlds Swim with the Dolphins in Key Largo Florida. Afterwards, Sabine felt the urge
to try something different. She decided on the wild dolphin encounter
in Bimini, Bahamas. Sabine didnt hesitate to give this weeklong
vacation a try.
Sabines voyage to the island of Bimini, from Ireland, provided
the typical case of jet lag. Her trip was made slightly easier by
flying directly into Ft. Lauderdale instead of Miami. This saved
quite a bit of transportation hassle and time; time that Sabine
used to rest before heading down to the Bahamas.
From Ft. Lauderdale, Sabine made her way to the Executive Airport,
a small airport outside of Ft. Lauderdale, to fly to Bimini, Bahamas.
Sabine traveled on BIA, a small independent charter carrier. The
planes are small but Sabine experienced a take off and landing that
was smoother than any big plane shed been on. The 15-minute
flight offered amazing views of the Bahamas and the brilliant turquoise
waters below. While on the plan, Sabine met a new friend, Susana,
from Argentina, also doing the trip. They took a cab together to
the Bimini Sands Hotel in South Bimini, where they awaited Captain
Geoffs arrival and go-ahead to board the boat.
Captain Geoff formally greeted everyone and gave a friendly explanation
about the boat. Then, Captain Geoff had everyone introduce him or
herself. On Sabines trip there were 6 guests for the week,
Sabines new friend Susana, 2 from Switzerland, 1 from New
Jersey, and 1 from Minnesota. All were first timers on the trip,
so they had quite a bit to chat about. Fortunately, everyone spoke
English so they could all communicate well with one another.
After the meet and greet, Captain Geoff gave a weather report on
the week ahead and then all gathered for their first meal with Christina.
Christina was the jack-of-all-trades. She cooked, clean, and assisted
the first mate, throughout the entire trip!
Sabine describes her experience:
The first night Christina cooked a great meal with plenty
of food. After the meal we were all ready to have a good nights
sleep. At night you have an opportunity to either play games, read,
or sit on the deck to view the stars.
As with any trip, there are no guarantees
of the weather. The crew prayed for good weather. The first day
brought calm seas in the morning. Captain Geoff warned the crew
that a strong weather front was coming in the afternoon. We got
a chance to practice snorkeling in the morning but after lunch the
winds were kicking up and we could not go out that day. Captain
Goeff has two boats, the large Trimirane, and a small dingy boat
that he uses to get around the island because its fast and
easy to get in and out of the water.
The first day out with the dingy
we found a group of bottle nosed dolphins, right away. They were
so pretty! They stayed with the dingy and jumped around the boat.
We were with the dolphins for about 20 minutes, until Captain Geoff
suggested continuing looking for the spotted dolphins because they
are easier to swim with. The spotted dolphins are more curious and
arent as shy as the bottle nosed dolphins. About 1/2 hour
later we located a group of spotted dolphins, about 6 or 7 of them.
They were really busy swimming and feeding in the water. The dingy
did its best to keep up the dolphins. Captain Geoff tried to get
them to play in the wake of the boat, but only a few took interest.
It was not the perfect time to get in the water because they were
feeding, so we stayed with them for about 1/2 hour longer.
One day we had perfect weather in
the dingy and the Trimarine. It was beautiful with flat seas and
perfectly crystal clear water. In the morning we waited to see if
the dolphins would come around the big boat while we snorkeled.
It was so reassuring that Captain Geoff was in the water the whole
time watching over us, to make sure that we were safe. We saw all
kinds of sea life, tropical fish, Nurse Shark, (not dangerous),
stingrays, yellow fish, blue fish, stripped fish, and lots of Star
Fish on the sanding bottoms. We experienced snorkeling in a spot
on Bimini called the 3 Sisters. This spot had all kinds of formations,
and 3 big stones jutting out of the water. We put the dingy near
these formations. Under the water were incredible reefs many ledges
at different depths. This experience was a bonus to the trip.
We had a great time snorkeling, but
no dolphins encounters happened that morning. After another fulfilling lunch
we traveled with the dingy to look for dolphins. We spent a good
3 or 4 hours on the dingy looking for dolphins. On this day we didnt
have any dolphin encounters, but enjoyed looking for them. We came back with
great expectations for the next day.
One day we went out very early with
the dingy and zig zaged the water to look for the dolphins. We went
off in the distance in search of the dolphins. When Captain Geoff
searches he never goes out fast. Everyone is involved in spotting
the dolphins. On this day Susana saw the dolphins first. It was
a group of spotted dolphins! Captain Geoff approached the spotted
dolphin pod cautiously because he wanted to see if the dolphins
were feeding or not. The conditions were perfect and we had the
opportunity to go in the water with them. Geoff told us to get our
gear on and get ready to go in. Captain Geoff threw out two large
towropes for the group to hold on to. Once in the water, Captain
Geoff takes off slowly to catch up with the dolphins. After a short
ride, he tried to get the attention of the dolphins again. They
came to see what the humans were doing tied to the boat. After a
short ride all of the spotted dolphins swam over to us.
These beautiful spotted dolphins
looked us right in the eyes. It was incredible! We all really appreciated
that we were allowed into their world. It was a humbling experience!
We realized how slow and cumbersome we humans can be, and how graceful
the dolphins are in the water, swimming with ease. We
became more comfortable in the water because of the dolphins
gentle appearance and their smiling faces. After a short while the
dolphins took off and we got back on the boat. We continued to follow
them again for least another 40 minutes. The spotted dolphins grouped
up with bottlenose dolphins to chase a big school of sardines. All
the dolphins were able to work together hunting for their meals.
Again, it was incredible! The crew was happy. We had finally achieved
what we came to achieve. We all agreed it was worth the wait.
Today, Sabine recollects the positive
effect the dolphin encounter had on her. The trip was a great success
and Sabine says she cant wait to do it again. Next time, she
hopes to have an opportunity to spend more time with the dolphins.
Overall, Sabine brags of a beautiful vacation, with great food,
and nice people who have the same interest. She says, I will
miss my new friends on the boat and in the water.
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