Dancing with the Wild Dolphins of Bimini

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
Jillian photographing wild dolphins. PHOTO CREDIT: Jillian Rutledge.

Jillian photographing wild dolphins. PHOTO CREDIT: Jillian Rutledge.

As the bow of our boat slices through the crystal clear waters, we scan the horizon for fins. Bimini is famous for its eclectic history, but it is also known around the world for its amazing wild dolphins. Both bottlenose and Atlantic spotted are encountered frequently and offer visitors a unique glimpse into the lives of these fascinating creatures.

Several fins break the surface and we slowly motor in their direction. They immediately move into the wake of the boat and one even leaps into the air behind us. The boat slows and we gear up with masks, fins and snorkels. I slide into the water quickly and quietly and immediately dive downwards towards the white sand bottom. This has piqued their interest and curiosity brings two Atlantic spotted dolphins to my side. We spiral back towards the surface, enjoying the freedom of the sea. I take a few breaths and dive again. A single juvenile darts towards me, dancing effortlessly as I hold my breath in order to spend a fleeting moment in their world. A bit of a misnomer, spots are absent from the juveniles until they are about four years old. One of the juveniles seems to enjoy the noise from my camera or maybe it has caught a glimpse of its reflection in the dome port. A second juvenile zooms in for a photo bomb, as if to say, “Look at me. Look at me. “I laugh underwater as I ascend again.

We play these games for over thirty minutes before the dolphins lose interest and head on to find something more entertaining. Everyone on the boat, even the most die hard shark fans, is laughing and reveling in the experience. I will unabashedly admit my preference of sharks to dolphins, but these wild encounters with these charismatic creatures are truly remarkable. This is not an aquarium experience with the dolphins behaving on queue, but completely in their world and on their terms. I have had swims last five minutes to over five hours, depending on the mood of the animals.

It is very rare to actually have a true, non-food induced interaction with a wild animal. I spend a lot of time filming and observing wildlife and even for me these moments are few and far between. I have been fortunate enough to spend hundreds of hours in the water with Bimini’s beautiful dolphins and I have seen adults of all ages (right up to age eighty-nine) revert back to childhood as they laugh and smile so big their mask leaks. You most definitely need to add laugh, dance and dive with wild dolphins to your Bucket List and Bimini is the perfect place to do it.

You can book your own wild dolphin encounter with the Bimini Sands recreation center, Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center or Bimini Adventures. For a multiple day trip or liveaboard option you can check out Dolphin Expeditions or WildQuest.


Bahamas Fishing Report & Forecast: January 2014

Saturday, December 28th, 2013
Kai Owen and Bronson Russell show what is in store for Abaco offshore fishing in January…enough said! PHOTO CREDIT: June Russell.

Kai Owen and Bronson Russell show what is in store for Abaco offshore fishing in January…enough said! PHOTO CREDIT: June Russell.

Grand Bahama

“So far the winter has been fairly mild,” according to Capt. Whitney Rolle of Firefly Bonefishing Lodge in East Grand Bahama “The average temperature has of course dropped and the water temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees. which is perfect for bone fishing the miles and miles of flats in the East Grand Bahama area. Typically at this time of year most of the larger bonefish will be cruising the flats as ‘singles’, or ‘doubles,’ not in large schools. These ‘singles’ and ‘doubles’ will easily be in the ten pound range.” The word from multiple soures on island in the West End area is that the wahoo bite is strong and will continue.


“We have spent the month of December getting acclimated to a fairly regular pattern of cold fronts”, reports Capt. Tony Bain from South Abaco Adventures in Sandy Point. “The water is cooling and mutton snapper are starting to invade the shallower waters. Bonefish numbers have been steady with a recent half day charter releasing seven bones. The lunar cycles are still triggering some spawning activity but we are seeing smaller schools on the flats. As the water temperatures cool, the flats will become less active with single permit and bonefish however the fish are still around in fair numbers. We are seeing an influx of barracuda and sharks to the flats during the next few months.”


“The wahoo bite is in full swing during the month of January and February”, shared Capt. Teddy Pratt of Reel Deal Charters. “As the cold fronts continue to push further through the Central Bahamas, they will continue to bring the wahoo into our waters, especially the bigger ones. The bite has been great so far with a fair number of fish up to 70 pounds. Of course, at this time of the year you will have the regular ‘cudas and kingfish. There will be plenty of rod bending action. The ledges is where you want to be trolling for the best bite. Those drop-offs are where the pelagic specie come to feed.”

Berry Islands

Herbie Dean, Harbour Master for Great Harbour Cay had this to say, “Fishing around the Northern Bahamas and Berry Islands during January is nothing short of ‘hot’. The most highly targeted species of course are wahoo and dolphin. The wahoo fishing has been excellent over the last several weeks of December and will definitely continue through January. We know that many anglers do not like to share their secret spots. however, the famous Pocket and Wahoo Point have given the best reported catches for the month so far.”


“It’s now time to break out the big stuff!” is the word from Capt. Doug Rowe of Fish Rowe Charters. “We are already hearing of large wahoo being caught off Highbourne Cay. Consistent reports of fish to 70 pounds are being regularly caught. Good sized wahoo are in fact being caught throughout the Exuma Cays. January and February are the prime months for this action. During the last week of December we caught our share of several wahoo to 60 pounds. Mahi-mahi are also arriving. Fishing the wall will be your best bet this month.”

 North Eleuthera

Capt. Ryan Neilly from Spanish Wells reports, “Red and black snapper will be among the top targeted bottom species during the month of January in the North Eleuthera area. These particular snapper species can typically be caught in waters ranging from 200 to 600 feet. Best bait choice is cut calamari. Another two species dominating this area will be wahoo and yellowfin tuna, which can be caught with trolling dead ballyhoo, lures or live bait. These fish can generally be caught at Middle Bar, Shallow Ground and Pinnacle Points. Mutton snapper will also be biting nicely in January. Look for them in depths of 20 to 60 feet.”

For additional Bahamas’ fishing reports and forecasts, visit the Bahamas Coastal Angler Magazine website.

Meet Peaches, the Royal Bahamas Potcake

Saturday, December 28th, 2013
Sapona (back) and Peaches (front) enjoying one of their favorite waterfront playgrounds. PHOTO CREDIT: Misti Guertin.

Sapona (back) and Peaches (front) enjoying one of their favorite waterfront playgrounds. PHOTO CREDIT: Misti Guertin.

Sapona (back) and Peaches (front) enjoying one of their favorite waterfront playgrounds. PHOTO CREDIT: Misti Guertin.

Peaches (left) and Sapona one hour after Peaches arrived at Guertin’s Landing. They romped in the yard, Sapona tried to coax Peaches unsuccessfully into the pool, but a fun time had by both potcakes. PHOTO CREDIT: Misti Guertin.

By Misti Guertin, Co-Publisher

Gary and I are happy to announce a new addition to the Coastal Angler family—Peaches, a seven month old potcake from Grand Bahama. Some of you may remember that less than a year ago, we welcomed Sapona Desdemona from Bimini to the family. Now (fortunately, because there is only so much running in the yard two humans can do) Sapona has a four-legged buddy to herd and chase. The two play hard, and what one doesn’t think of doing, the other certainly does. Sometimes this results in mayhem, but along with it they create laughter, smiles, and lots of kisses.

Peaches and Sapona were fortunate to have two rescue organizations behind their adoptions, but there are thousands of feral dogs, puppies, cats and kittens in The Bahamas that are not as lucky. These unfortunate animals roam the streets, reproduce litter after litter, and die from illnesses, starvation or abuse.

Sapona’s rescue was orchestrated by The Stray Dogs of Bimini and Island Paws Rescue. The two work together to save the lives of stray dogs and cats through spay, neuter, adoption and educational programs. Sapona was airlifted from Bimini to Fort Lauderdale in a private aircraft by a generous second-home owner who donates her aircraft and pilot services to multiple Bahamas animal rescue groups.

After adopting Sapona, we became aware of another rescue group based in Fort Lauderdale, Operation Puppy Lift. This group is comprised of approximately 20 volunteers, and since 2007, working closely with the Humane Society of Grand Bahama, they have rescued 2,149 puppies and dogs, and 53 kittens and cats. Last year (2013), Operation Puppy Lift’s largest airlift was close to 100 dogs and puppies. The 20 volunteers (which I had hoped to assist) helped receive the animals upon entry into the U.S. , assisted their processing through U.S. Customs, then bathed and walked the dogs, cleaned kennels, transported some to Delta Cargo for additional travel to their final destinations, and fostered others until permanent homes could be arranged.

Peaches arrived on a smaller puppy lift, and ironically upon adopting her, we learned that she too was transported to Fort Lauderdale from Grand Bahama by the same pilot who brought Sapona to the U.S. Thanks to Operation Puppy Lift volunteers Heike Dose and Scott Bursa (Potcake Collars), who issued Facebook pleas to find a home for Peaches, we saw Peaches photo, and the rest, as we say, is history.

Although the adoption of Peaches has a happy ending, there is a critical need for donations and volunteers to help the various animal rescue groups and organizations in The Bahamas, as well as those which help provide assistance stateside. During Peaches’ initial vet visit, our family veterinarian reiterated that The Bahamas Government support and encouragement of spaying and neutering is crucial to stopping the overpopulation of “unwanted animals.”

February 2-6, Operation Potcake, a five-year spay and neuter initiative of the international organization Animal Balance and the Bahamas Humane Society, descends on New Providence Island. Comprised of veterinarians and volunteers from seven countries, the group’s goal is to spay and neuter 1000 animals in five days from three clinics situated in the most densely populated potcake areas. (In January 2013, Operation Potcake sterilized 2,315 dogs in two weeks.)

If you’re an animal lover and you have time or resources (or both) to give, please consider helping one of the deserving groups below. And, if you’d like to give one of these magnificent potcakes a home, most of the resources below contain a list and photo galleries of the pets available for adoption.

Sapona and Peaches have a wonderful future ahead of them. Sadly, there are so many other puppies and dogs who will never enjoy the security of a loving home, a full belly, and the attention they so rightly deserve.

• The Kohn Foundation ( (Help fund Operation Puppy Lift and spay/neuter clinics in West End, Grand Bahama)
• Potcake Rescue of Grand Bahama (
• Royal Potcake Rescue USA (
• The Stray Dogs of Bimini (
• Island Paws Rescue (

Make Your Island Plans Now — Bahamas Ministry Boating Flings Launch In June

Monday, March 5th, 2012

For many boat owners in Florida and the southeast U.S., a trip to the Bahamas is on their bucket list. However, many are concerned with their ability to cross the Gulf Stream.

Enter the Bahamas Summer Boating Fling Program. For nearly 30 years, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has been organizing summer flotillas to teach Gulf Stream-crossing newbies how to safely make the crossing in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

Under the guidance of a lead boat and experienced captain, participants in the Bahamas Boating Flings make the Gulf Stream crossing in a group. Flings depart from two designated departure points on Florida’s East Coast: Bahia Mar Marina in Ft. Lauderdale and Sailfish Marina in Stuart (Stuart departure only for Grand Bahama trips). The Stuart location is convenient for those in the north, as well as those from the west coast, who plan to cross the state via the Cross-Florida Canal/Okeechobee Waterway.

Here is the summer 2012 itinerary:


6/6 – 6/10 —- Bimini Big Game Club Outpost Resort & Marina, Bimini

6/13 – 6/17 — Bimini Big Game Club Outpost Resort & Marina, Bimini

6/20 – 6/24 — Bimini Blue Water Resort & Marina, Bimini



6/27 – 7/1     —- Port Lucaya Marina & Marketplace, Grand Bahama Island

7/11– 7/22 — Grand Bahama Island & Abaco, with the following stops:

7/12 — Port Lucaya Marina/Grand Bahama Island

7/13-7/16 — Treasure Cay Resort & Marina/Treasure Cay,Abaco

7/16-7/17– Abaco Beach Resort at Boat Harbour/Marsh Harbour,     Abaco

7/18-7/19 — Green Turtle Cay & Marina/Green Turtle Cay, Abaco

7/20-7/22 — Old Bahama Bay/West End, Grand Bahama Island

7/25 – 7/29 — Bimini Bay Resort & Marina, Bimini


Departure Points

  • Bahia Mar Marina, 801 Seabreeze Boulevard, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33004,    Ph: (954) 627-6309
  • Sailfish Marina of Stuart – Fling departure point for Grand Bahama Island Fling only! 3565 S.E. St. Lucie Blvd., Stuart, FL 34997, Ph: (772) 283-1122

If interested, register early, as space is limited to 30 boats, and is on a first come, first serve basis. A $75 non-refundable registration fee per boat, per fling, applies. Minimum boat length for all flings is 22 feet.

So go grab a Kalik, a Sands or your favorite rum drink—we’re going to the Bahamas. Wahoo!

For more information, or to register for a fling or flings, call (800) 32-SPORT,  or visit