Sunday 13 December 2015

Dolphin and Whale watching

Oh my goodness what a day we had! 
We set off at 06.15 in the hopes of spotting dolphin or whales before they disappear at about midday and head out to deeper waters. Dolphins come near to the shore and particularly like the river estuary areas where they come most days to play and socialise.
A simple breakfast on board followed by us standing on the top deck, hands on foreheads staring out into the distant waters hoping to see a fin. (not a phrase I ever thought I would use)

Sure enough, our marine biologist was right, there they were in the bay, three pods, the fins clearly visible, then disappearing, then they would pop up again somewhere else.
There is something pretty magical about having dolphins approach you out of shear curiosity, they swam around the boat to whoops of joy as we took photos and marvelled at them.
After half an hour we had to head off to deeper waters to search further and to our delight, a pod played in the bow waves of the boat! amazing! They stayed with us for a good 10 minutes then returned to the bay.

There was me leaning right over to take this photo. I was thrilled with it! The dolphin were on both sides of the boat, about 15 in total, quite an experience I can tell you!

We had received a tip off from a fishing boat that whales had been spotted 2 hours away, so it was off to the deeper waters in the hopes of seeing them. I have to admit, after almost 2 hours it was looking unlikely. They had probably dived into the deep.
Then all of a sudden someone shouted, there!! and sure enough, we had found them. Two pods of pilot whales including their calves.
This is how close they were to the boat!

They were incredibly fast, gliding through the waters as we tried to stay close, but not too close.
They became very curious and one even swam under the boat (gulp) its dark shape disappeared under us as we peered over the side of the boat. (I must say, if they wanted to, they could have done some damage Im sure) but they were very relaxed.

My photo really doesn't show the scale of them, or how many there were, I couldn't get them all in the frame.
We stayed with them for about half an hour, many of us became a little emotional, they certainly had a huge effect on us all. Our marine biologist had never seen as many pilot whales together emphasising just how lucky we were. 

They were heading way out to sea, so it was time we headed back towards the shore. The boat gently turned away from them and we saw them disappear into the distance.

Once nearer the shore, it was lunch on board and a bit of snorkelling.

This was my best shot, the yellow coral was blowing about in the current and these fish were snuggling into it. Really fantastic.

It was a great day, very memorable in the waters off Mauritius.