Arguably one of the world’s most popular marine animals is of course the dolphin. Often one of the first questions a passenger will ask when the step onboard is “Do you think we will get to see dolphins?!”. It’s hard to miss the moment when the dolphins do decide to pay us a visit, the air fills with excited voices as passengers and crew alike rush to the bow. With their cheeky smile and playfully curious nature it’s pretty easy to understand why so many fall in love with these enchanting critters.
Here in the Whitsundays we are lucky enough to commonly encounter two species of dolphin, the Bottlenose dolphin and the Australian Humpback dolphin. The Bottlenose is most likely what comes to mind when the word dolphin first gets mentioned as they are what people tend to see the most of, whether it be on TV, in movies or when visiting the aquarium as a child. The Australian Humpback dolphin however is far lesser known.
Bottlenose dolphins are typically light grey in colour, a slightly curved dorsal fin and a rounded “bottle shape” nose (beak) hence the name bottlenose. They can be found all around Australia’s coastline in small groups of two or three to large groups of a thousand or more. Typically in the Whitsundays we see them in smaller pods of two to three individuals.
Australian Humpback dolphins are a little different in appearance to the bottlenose having a rounded back with only a small dorsal fin. Again they are light grey in colour, but in this species colour varies a little more between individuals even sometimes having a mottled look. These guys are found in the northern waters of Australia and typically quite close to the coast. When encountering this species in the Whitsundays they tend to be in small pods of three to six individuals.
The most common way we see either species is when we are cruising between the islands on the way to our next activity spot. These more than welcome guests pop by to say hello, riding in the pressure wave generated at the front of the boat or in the wake at the back, showing off and filling everyone with delight. So grab your camera and join us aboard for your chance to explore the Whitsundays and meet some of our gorgeous local wildlife!