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Calves Suckling, ANZAC Day & A Full Moon!

Dolphins were sighted every day and on most of our cruises during the 4th week of April.  Mandurah had 13mm of rain on Monday before fining up for the rest of the week, with temperatures in the low to mid 20’s.  This week saw high tides with a Full Moon on the 26th April.  As discussed in previous blogs, the full moon effects the dolphins behaviour and so days surrounding the full moon sighted an extreme level of dolphin activity and playfulness.  On the 25th April a huge pod of 20+ of Mandurah’s dolphins were sighted having a big catch up in the Dawesville Cut (~20 minutes south of central Mandurah).  There were a number of young calves in this pod as well as popular resident dolphins Nicki and Giggles.  It is unusual for Mandurah’s dolphins to be in such large pods!  The 25th of April is ANZAC day and so there was a lot of traffic on the water as it was a public holiday and Mandurah’s ANZAC ceremonies are conducted at memorial sights located on the water’s edge.  2 females and their young calves were sighted in the shallows of the Eastern Foreshore on the 25th April searching for food.  They didn’t mind us cruising next to them as they went about their way.  We were able to get close enough to see that the calves were also suckling/nursing at the time!  Calves nurse below water, close to the surface.  The calf suckles from nipples concealed in abdominal mammary slits.  Observations in zoological parks show that nursing usually begins within six hours of birth. A calf nurses as often as four times per hour for the first four to eight days.  Each nursing instance usually lasts only about five to ten seconds. A calf nurses three to eight times per hour throughout the day and night.  Milk is composed of 33% fat, 6.8% protein, and 58% water, with traces of lactose. The rich milk helps the baby rapidly develop a thick blubber layer.  A calf may nurse for up to 18 months!  Our guests on board of one of our 25th April cruises also had a fantastic view of a pod of dolphins sleeping as we cruised along beside them.  Because they are a conscious air breathing mammal they can’t just fall asleep in the water, otherwise they risk drowning.  So, they lay on top of the water with their blow hole exposed and rest one half of their brain whilst the other half stays alert and reminds them to keep breathing and swimming.

22nd April –  6 dolphins were first sighted on our 11am cruise along the shallows of Fairbridge Road.  They were casually swimming along towards the ocean.  On our approach they swam over to our boat and joined us for a ride on our waves and under the bow to the ocean where we could not proceed any further.  Our 1pm cruise sighted 2 dolphins chasing fish along the shallows of Soldiers Cove.  We had to observe them from nearby as they were in too shallow of water to get close enough to interact with.  They appeared to be having some luck catching fish as a few were thrown into the air in a playful manner.  Our other boat failed to report their dolphin sightings for the day and there were no cruises after 2pm.

 dolphin

dolphin

23rd April –  On departure of our 11am cruise 1 lone male dolphin was sighted in Mandjar Bay searching for food.  Another lone male dolphin was sighted in the Mandurah Ocean Marina using the rock walls to assist it in rounding up fish.  Our 12 noon cruise sighted 2 dolphins in the Mandurah Ocean Marina searching for food.  They quickly swam under our boat and then disappeared.  2 dolphins were sighted on our 1pm cruise near the Old Mandurah Traffic Bridge.  They were casually swimming towards the ocean and joined us for a ride under our bow to Stingray Point.  They were gliding along with their bellies up, looking at all the guests looking at them.  On departure of our 2pm cruise, 2 dolphins were playing in front of the large yacht moored in Mandjar Bay.  As we passed by they swam over to our boat to join us for a surf on our boat’s waves around Stingray Point before diverting back in to Mandjar Bay.  Our 3pm cruise sighted these same 2 dolphins now along the shallows of Fairbridge Road, rounding up fish.  We observed them from nearby as they did so.  2 dolphins were sighted on our 4pm cruise searching for food in the Samphire Cove wetlands.  They were close to the black swan colony that are currently residing in our wetland areas and neither animal was phased by each other’s presence.

dolphin

dolphin

24th April –  Our 11am cruise sighted a lone male dolphin searching for food in Mandjar Bay.  As per usual it wasn’t very active as it was busy trying to fill its hungry belly.  Another lone male was sighted on our 1pm cruise near the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge.  Contrary to the norm, this lone male was in a very active mood and joined us for a surf on our boat’s waves towards the Old Mandurah Traffic Bridge.  Our other 2 cruises for the day failed to report their dolphin sightings.

dolphin

dolphin

25th April –  This was ANZAC day and so there was a lot of traffic on the water as it was a public holiday and Mandurah’s ANZAC ceremonies are conducted at memorial sights located on the water’s edge.  3 or 4 dolphins were sighted by our skipper on our 10:30am cruise near Stingray Point.  As our boat approached this area these dolphins had disappeared and we had to proceed along our cruise route.  On our 11am cruise 2 female dolphins and their young calves – around 3 months of age – were sighted along the shallows of the Eastern Foreshore searching for food.  They didn’t mind us cruising next to them as they went about their way.  We were able to get close enough to see that the calves were also suckling at the time.  Our 12 noon cruise sighted 2 dolphins in the Port Mandurah Canals near Sutton’s Farm.  They were rounding up fish along the canal walls and we observed them from nearby.  A lone male dolphin was sighted on our 12:30pm cruise near the Mandurah War Memorial.  It was travelling in the opposite direction to us and we could not turn around to observe it as there was too much traffic on the water.  On our 1pm cruise dolphins were sighted at numerous locations along our cruise route.  A female and her calf were sighted along the shallows of the Eastern Foreshore.  They swam over to our boat and cruised with us to the Old Mandurah Traffic Bridge.  As we made our way back down stream to the Mandurah Ocean Marina we sighted 4 dolphins along the shallows of Fairbridge Road rounding up fish.  Their swift movements created sand clouds which disturb the clarity of the water and impair the fish’s vision.  This makes it easy for the dolphin to then catch the fish.  6 dolphins were later sighted on our cruise near the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge having a snooze.  Because they are a conscious air breathing mammal they can’t just fall asleep in the water, otherwise they risk drowning.  So, they lay on top of the water with their blow hole exposed and rest one half of their brain whilst the other half stays alert and reminds them to keep breathing and swimming.  Our guests on board had a fantastic view of these dolphins as we cruised along beside them.  Our 2pm cruise sighted 3 dolphins in the Mandurah Estuary channel near Stingray Point swimming amongst the many boats on the water.  The 6 dolphins that were sighted on our 1pm cruise snoozing were also sighted on our 2:30pm and 3pm cruises near the Old Mandurah Traffic Bridge now searching for food.  They were diving deep and not too interested in us so we observed them from nearby.  With a full moon the following day, tides were high and as reported previously the full moon effects the dolphins behaviour and so days surrounding the full moon sighted an extreme level of dolphin activity and playfulness.  One of our staff on their day off witnessed around 20+ of Mandurah’s dolphins having a big catch up in the Dawesville Cut (~20 minutes south of central Mandurah).  There were a number of young calves in this pod as well as popular resident dolphins Nicki and Giggles.  It is unusual for Mandurah’s dolphins to be in such large pods!

ANZAC Mandurah

ANZAC Dawesville

ANZAC Dawesville

26th April –  3 dolphins were sighted on our 11am cruise rounding up fish along the shallows of Fairbridge Road.  We observed them from nearby as they did so.  2 dolphins were also sighted later on this cruise in the Port Mandurah Canals, in front of the former house of the late Rolly Tasker.  They were using the canal walls to assist them in rounding up fish.  On our 12 noon cruise 3 dolphins were sighted at the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean Marina. They were searching for some lunch and weren’t too interested in us.  Our 1pm cruise sighted these same 3 dolphins and now with some food in their bellies they were more sociable.  They joined us for  a ride on our waves to the ocean entrance where we could not proceed any further.  They were getting some impressive air time; leaping high into the air and slamming down on their back and side.  2 dolphins were sighted on our 4pm cruise near the Mandurah War Memorial.  As we approached them they swam over to our boat to say hi to our guests on board and swim alongside us as we proceeded along our cruise route.

dolphin

dolphin

27th April –  No dolphins were sighted along our cruise route on our morning cruises.  2 dolphins were sighted at the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  They were using the rock walls to assist them in rounding up fish and we observed them from nearby as they did so.  A lone male was sighted on our 3pm cruise searching for food in Mandjar Bay.  It was diving deep; staying under for lengthy periods of time.  On our 5pm Sundowner cruise 2 dolphins were sighted in the Mandurah Ocean Marina searching for food as we were picking up our guests fish and chips dinner from Nino’s Fish Bar.

dolphin

28th April –  On departure of our 10am cruise a lone male dolphin was sighted exploring in Mandjar Bay.  Our 11am cruise sighted 4 dolphins rounding up fish in the shallows along Fairbridge Road.  They were too hungry to be interested in joining us for a ride.  2 dolphins were sighted on our 12 noon cruise in the Port Mandurah Canals, in front of the former house of the late Rolly Tasker.  They were using the canal walls to assist them in rounding up fish and so we observed them from nearby.  On our 3pm cruise 2 dolphins were sighted in the Mandurah Ocean Marina also searching for food.  On our approach they swam over to our boat to greet our guests.  They swam alongside us as we made our way out of the marina and made our way back towards the city centre.  They were in a very playful mood and as we accelerated stayed with us for a ride on our boat’s waves to Stingray Point.

dolphin

dolphin

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There were many photos and videos taken during this week and we get them up on our website and Facebook page soon.

We also encourage you to share your sightings, photos and videos on our Facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/MandurahCruises

And remember, if you would like to join us on a cruise and see Mandurah dolphins just visit the 1hr Dolphin & Canal Cruise page for more info and to book online.

http://mandurahcruises.com.au/

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Check out this amazing video on YouTube by the crew from Pro-Windsurf La Ventana:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIF3PyPdQkM

A pod of dolphins amazed a wake boarder by starting to surf and leap right alongside her while in the Sea of Cortez.  The video shows the woman watching dolphins swim in the water nearby before they surround her and begin to ride the same waves from the boat as she does; leaping out of the water right beside and in front of her.  It appears to be a mega pod with dolphins visible as far as the eye can see, racing through the water.

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Mandurah Weather

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Mandurah’s Dolphins

Mandurah has a healthy population of Bottle Nose Dolphins (tusiops truncatus) that is estimated to number up to 75 individuals, depending on the time of year. The number increases around mating times when males come in and join the pods. The pods of dolphins average around 10-15 and have sometimes been seen to be as large as 25 down to solitary dolphins or smaller family groups of 3-4.

Their average length is about 3 metres, with calves being about 1 metre long at birth. We normally see baby dolphins appear between December and April. Mandurah's wild dolphins are medium grey in colour with light flanks and pale bellies. They can live up to 30 years and can swim in short bursts up to 40km/h and they love to play in our ferries bow waves and wash. As a matter of fact dolphins are the only other mammals apart from humans that continue to play well into their adult life. And Mandurah's wild dolphins are very playful!

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