Today I participated in a dolphin encounter at Bay of Islands (Paihai, New Zealand). The trip guaranteed sightings and the possibility to swim with the dolphins.
There are two types of dolphins at Bay of Islands…Bottlenose and Common. The Common dolphins are much smaller (about the size of humans) and they tend to be intimidated by humans. However, the Bottlenose dolphins grow to be around 900 pounds.
Even though the Bottlenose dolphins are much large and not intimidated, there are strict criteria for swimming with the dolphins…there can’t be any babies or juveniles in the pod, they can’t be eating or resting, and they can’t be on the move.
The pod we found today had a four week baby and luckily I even saw the small one, but it did mean there would be no swimming. Baby dolphins need to nurse every three minutes (20 times per hour). They can be easily distracted by swimmers and forget to nurse. That could cause them hypothermia and death.
I didn’t mind not swimming with them today…I enjoyed them just as much from the boat. They were incredibly playful.
During the rest of my trip through New Zealand there is one more chance to swim with dolphins on New Year’s Eve, but for now here are some of my photos from today.