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Dolphin Encounter® Update For March 2015

Posted by Ed Nolan (0 Comments)
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 in Default

Dolphin Encounter® Update For March 2015

Welcome to the Dolphin Encounter® update for March 2015. Once again we’ve been super busy hosting visitors both locally and from further afield. The dolphins have been amazing, forming large pods ranging from 200-500 and in areas close to home such as the Punchbowl, Barney’s Rock and Goose Bay.

With darker mornings, we’ve been pushing back our check-in times meaning that we’re on the water for sunrise with some sensational sunrises. It’s an amazing time of day, especially seeing the dolphins heading inshore for the first time with the occasional acrobatics and back drop of the glorious morning sky. Certainly a worthwhile reward for those keen to brave those early morning starts. 

Interaction has been fantastic with quite a few, what we like to call “one drop wonders,’ where the dolphins choose to stay and play for the entire duration of the swim. This in part is no doubt due to some great entertainment from our swimmers and some highly inquisitive dolphins. 

As well as the dusky dolphins we’ve had several encounters with common dolphins and Hector’s dolphins. Despite their name, we don’t often encounter common dolphins and when we do, they tend to prefer engaging with the boat rather than interacting with swimmers. We’re also commonly asked about the small and rare Hector’s dolphins. This species prefers the shallow, coastal areas in stark contrast to the duskies who appear not to be bothered by deeper water. 

On some occasions, the dolphins have been located close to Barney’s Rock, which is home to a variety of breeding birds as well as the New Zealand fur seal. If time permits, we sometimes visit Barney’s rock on the way home enjoying the abundance of seal pups that often frolic in the intertidal pools. We also reported last month about witnessing a seal eating skate, which hasn’t been seen here by our crew before and again for a second time, this same scenario was witnessed with some amazing photos taken.

Other marine life this month has included visits on 5 occasions from the orca or killer whales. We never know what the dolphin’s response is likely to be when orca are in the area and the dolphins exhibit different behaviour dependent on what the orca are doing. Sometimes the dolphins appear completely oblivious, others they scatter at high speed in order to avoid them. On one visit, we were watching a pod of dolphins when 2 orca surfaced and disappeared in close proximity to the pod. The dolphin’s response was to temporarily travel at high speed before slowing down, clearly with the orca no longer posing a threat. Orca that have travelled through this month have included some individuals that are well known to us including Nicky and Koru, but also members of another pod that haven’t been recorded here in 5 years. So, who knows where these orca have been over that time?

Finally, yet more excitement for the month originated from a pod of pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins. Despite their name, pilot whales are one of the largest of the dolphin species. Pilot whales and oceanic bottlenose dolphins are rarely seen by our vessels as both species tend to have a preference for offshore waters. Bottlenose dolphins can grow up to 4m in length and appear massive in comparison to the dusky dolphins which are less than half their size.

So, it’s been another busy and exciting month but that’s all our news for now.

Till next time..........

Tour Photos
 © Dolphin Encounter» Swimmer
 © Dolphin Encounter» Sunrise
 © Dolphin Encounter» Seal Eating Skate
 © Dolphin Encounter» Boat and Leaping Dusky
 © Dolphin Encounter» Nicky, Koru and Little Nick
 © Dolphin Encounter» Male Orca
 © Dolphin Encounter» Common and Dusky Dolphins
 © Dolphin Encounter» Pilot Whales and Dusky Dolphin
 © Dolphin Encounter» Pilot Whales and Bottlenose Dolphins

 

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