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There’s More Than Just Blue Whales Around the Corner

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Whale Watching | Mammals

Thursday, May 13, 2010


And we can see them now!

Besides blue whale season being right around the corner, there’s also another treat in store for us that goes right along with the whales. That treat is the offshore bottlenose dolphins. Although we see dolphins all year long, we tend to see more of the offshore bottlenose during our Dolphin and Sea Life cruises and as we head off shore to find the blues. Read on to find out what they do that is so special!

To some, a bottlenose dolphin is a bottlenose dolphin. There are many populations, or groups of bottlenose all over the world. The population I’m specifically talking about are found more offshore than near the coast. During the winter whale watching season we see a good amount of bottlenose dolphins near the break wall as we leave the harbor. When we’re out looking for blue whales and fin whales in the deeper waters, we’ll see more offshore.

The main differences between the inshore/coastal bottlenose dolphins and offshore are the size. The coastal/inshore are a lot smaller. They’re usually about 600lbs and about 8ft long, where the offshore can be about 1,000lbs and 12 ft long. They can be even larger in other parts of the world. Also, the offshore tend to live in bigger pods, where the inshore/coastal usually have less than 20 in a pod. The food seems to vary a little as well, where the coastal will eat smaller schooling fish and the offshore tend to prefer squid.

What makes the offshore fun to watch during blue whale season is that they can be very acrobatic! They will be in large groups and leap out of the water into the air over 10 feet high! They can be really playful and will put on a show. This doesn’t mean that the coastal bottlenose don’t do this as well, I just haven’t seen it them do it nearly as much as the offshore. You can really see a difference in the size if we get the chance to look at both types.

I’m not entirely sure why we see more offshore during the late spring and summer months. It could be they tend to hang out in this area more during these times, or it simply could be because we spend more time offshore. Either way, it’s always exciting when you see a large pod of big dolphins. Usually that means we’ve got a treat in store. If you’d like to join us we’re right in the middle of our Dolphin and Sea Life cruise time!

There’s More Than Just Blue Whales Around the Corner
Another offshore flipping on its side next to the boat.  | Kera Mathes
There’s More Than Just Blue Whales Around the Corner
A slightly smaller coastal bottlenose dolphin inside the breakwall.  | Kera Mathes

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