Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dolphins in Antigua and Barbuda

Both Cruise Ship passengers and Hotel guests often want to know if they will see dolphins on one of our cruises. Many people ask if you can swim with dolphins in Antigua too. What i tell them is that seeing dolphins is very likely while on a cruise or while saying in Antigua. We have several types of dolphins cruising off Antigua, but thankfully we don't have any dolphin parks here anymore. You can read why i don't like Dolphin parks here or here. Anyway, swimming with dolphins happens several times a year on our tours and one group of guests who private chartered out of Jumby Bay have jumped in with dolphins on two different charters with us which i can tell you is very very rare. The chances of seeing them are way higher than being able to swim with them and the chances of doing it twice over two tours that you would take with us are extremely low.
Dolphins don't usually like to stick around for that long unless you are out in the deep Atlantic and are moving fairly quickly. When you stop they usually just swim off fairly quickly just like the humpback whales usually do here. There are those rare occasions when for whatever reason they are just super curious and want to check you out. What i find most amazing when this happens is how carefully they look at you. You see their heads move up and down or side to side as they examine your body and face. I remember being surprised the first time i was in the water with them how much their heads could move. You don't see a "neck" but they sure have them. In deeper waters where sometimes there are big schools of bait fish you can come across hundreds of dolphins at a time. I have seen massive pods of Atlantic Spotted Dolphins (read more) while out fishing. This old vid my brother took shows a calm day of fishing interrupted by a group of about 20 (it was about 5 miles from land and we were in about 1200 feet of water. I didn't feel like swimming far from the boat for good reasons which materialized after a while):

This little movie i made last night shows a bunch of still images I have taken over the past two years as well as some video I took while out fishing on a day off with JD and Tony:

Hope you enjoyed today's dolphin blog. Made me feel like going boating. This weekend looks good. It's been rough for the past two days. Yesterday was the first day in three months that we had to cancel a tour because of weather. Two cruise ships didn't even bother to come into port which is something i had never heard of before.