Posted by: orcaweb | June 18, 2010

Watching dolphins

Apparently watching and interacting with dolphins is on most peoples “TO DO” list.  How do you like to see your dolphins though?:  Free swimming and playing? in a pool sad and captive? or perhaps in a burger?!!!

Anyone who has seen the recent documentary film “The Cove” will know what I am writing about.  Dolphins captured for captivity in Marine parks are worth thousands of pounds.  The others not sold are then slaughtered for meat.

ORCA promotes the watching of wild dolphins in their natural habitat enjoying all the things they like to do.  Who knows what you may see….beautiful natural landscapes, the weather moving in and the sunset over the ocean. And perhaps if you follow my guide you will get to see these amazing creatures playing in the sea.  Of course you cannot buy a guaranteed sighting but you can expect the unexpected!   There are several things you can do to increase the likelihood of spotting dolphins so here is my quick guide;

  • Look at the sea!  Ok obvious but go to a good place; out on a headland, high up, or out on a boat.  Obviously safety comes 1st so make sure you are safe and someone knows where you are.
  • Take some tools- telescope/binoculars, GPS to make records a notepad or recording form and compass will be useful.  Test your accuracy of distance at sea (find a buoy or lighthouse and check your estimates of distance on charts).
  • You will need to put in some sea watching time so warm clothes food and drink, sunhat and suncream/waterproofs are essentials
  • Know your hotspots; do some research, where are the dolphin hotspots near you?  There are books on the subject “Where to go and what to See (Dylan Walker and Alex Wilson”  and local cetacean groups to help you with this.  A search on the net should give you some ideas.  Somewhere with an offshore reef, a lighthouse, somewhere where currents stream past bringing lots of food!
  • Choose a day with a flat sea…high pressure system, spring tides are also good
  • Is the sea looking silvery with plankton?, do 2 water bodies mix up food, are there tide and current lines on the sea surface?, are there sea birds feeding there?…..if those birds start circling diving in a feeding frenzy ….keep watching out for something to appear from underneath

Bottlenose dolphins in the wild. By Kathryn Driscoll

We have had some fantastic sightings of cetaceans on board the King of Scandinavia and as the summer progresses these are on the increase so consider a seawatching trip with ORCA and DFDS Seaways.

Kathryn Driscoll  Senior Wildlife Education Officer


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