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Playful, Large Pods in Mandurah’s Waterways!

The 3rd and 4th week of May saw finer weather with temperatures in the low 20’s and rain recorded on only 2 days (11mm of rain on 17th May and 9.2mm of rain on 19th May).  The dolphins were sighted on most days and on most of our cruises.  Usually dolphins are sighted in Mandurah’s waterways in small pods of 2 -6.  However, during these 2 weeks large pods were sighted on numerous occasions…  A pod of 15 dolphins near the Peel Inlet entrance (14th May), a pod of 12 dolphins at the Mariners Cove entrance (15th May), a pod of 12+ dolphins near the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge (20th May), a pod of 20+ dolphins in the Dawesville Cut (23rd May).  These large pods were all very playful and joined us for a ride on our boat’s waves and under our boat’s bow.  They were also showing off to guests on board… leaping high into the air, splashing down heavily, mating, chasing each other and spiralling over each other.  Each of these large pods consisted of newborn dolphins (3-5months old) that all appeared to be doing well.  The 25th May was a full moon and as noted previously, the date of and surrounding the full moon sees an increased level of dolphin activity and playfulness.  Again this pattern was supported with the very large pod / gathering of 20+ dolphins sighted the day prior in the Dawesville Cut by one of our crew members on their day off, on their jet ski.  A young calf (only a few months old) was extremely playful riding under the bow and slapping its tail demanding a ride on numerous occasions in the few hours that our crew member stayed with the large pod.  Many of the dolphins in the pod were also sighted spiralling over and nudging each other to get the prime position on the bow.  A one point in time our crew member reported having around 8 dolphins riding under the bow.  A similar event occurred last month when the full moon was approaching.

A common questioned asked is how we can determine the sex of a dolphin (whether it is male or female).  Well firstly, typically adult males will weight 25% more than adult females.  Secondly, sighting of the genital slits on the under-belly near the tail flukes is required to confirm the sex of a dolphin.  In this area, there will be two slits: the genitals and the anus. For the males, these slits will be visibly separate. For the females, these slits will be next to each other and will appear as one long slit. Also, females have smaller slits on either side of the genital slits that are called “Mammary Slits” and they house the mammary glands.

dolphin sex

Diagram source: http://www.dolphinresearchaustralia.com/more-info/about-dolphins/bottlenose-dolphins/

13th May –  2 dolphins were sighted on our 1pm cruise along the shallows of Fairbridge Road searching for food and playing.  On our approach they swam over to our boat to greet our guests.  They swam around our boat, spiralling and chasing each other.  After a while we accelerated and they joined us for a ride under our boat’s bow to the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  We had a visit from the Western Australian Tourism Exchange (WATEX) delegates this day comprising travel and trade media from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.  This  function sighted 6 very playful dolphins near Mandurah Quay at 12:30pm.  They were casually swimming along before joining us for a ride under our boat’s bow and on our boat’s waves.

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

14th May –  On our 11am cruise 4 female dolphins were sighted near Kings Carnival just casually swimming along.  Much to our guests excitement they swam alongside our boat for a while.  3 dolphins were sighted on our 12 noon cruise searching for some lunch at the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  They were too busy to be interested in us and so we observed them from nearby as they went about their way.  These same 3 dolphins were also sighted on our 1pm and 2pm cruises in the same area.  Again they were too busy searching for food to be interested in us.  They were diving deep and staying under for lengthy periods of time.  Later in our 2pm cruise we sighted a large pod of around 15 dolphins near the Peel Inlet!  They were a very playful pod, joining us for a ride on our boat’s waves and under the bow and just playing around the boat greeting and showing off to our guests on board.  They stayed with us for near half an hour before we had to return.  Our hostess on board said, “It was amazing being joined by such a large pod, nobody knew where to look because they were everywhere!”  On our 4pm cruise 4 dolphins were sighted near the Mandurah War Memorial playing around.  On our approach they swam over to our boat and joined us for a surf on our boat’s waves.

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

15th May –  No dolphins were sighted along our cruise route on our morning cruises.  A large pod of around 12 dolphins were sighted on our 2pm cruise.  They were searching for food and playing around near the Mariners Cove entrance.  Much to our guest’s excitement, the pod joined us for a ride on our boat’s waves and under the bow.  They were also spiralling over each other and chasing each other around the boat.  It was all very exciting and our hostess on board said, “We had a great view of the dolphins as they showed off.  They were all around the boat and very playful!”

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

18th May –  No dolphins were sighted along our cruise route on our 11am cruise.  2 dolphins were sighted on our 1pm cruise searching for some lunch in the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  They weren’t very sociable as they were too busy and so we observed them from nearby.  Our 2pm cruise sighted 3 dolphins searching for food amongst the Crayfish boat jetties in the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  They were working as a team rounding up fish, thrashing around and appeared to have some luck with a few fish being thrown into the air.  On our 3pm cruise 4 dolphins were sighted near the Mandurah War Memorial rounding up fish.  They too appeared to be having some luck as a couple of fish were thrown into the air.

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

19th May – No dolphins were sighted along our cruise route on our morning cruises.  3 dolphins were sighted on our 1pm cruise searching for food along the shallows of Fairbridge Road.  As we approached them they swam over to our boat to greet our guests before swimming alongside us to the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  2 dolphins were sighted on our 4pm cruise entering the Mariners Cove Canal.  We observed them from a distance as the casually swam along.

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

20th May –  Our 11am cruise sighted a lone male dolphin searching for food at the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  He didn’t pay us too much attention as he was too busy.  On our 1pm cruise a large pod of 12+ dolphins were sighted near the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge searching for food.  They were heading towards the city centre and on our approach they joined us for a ride on our boat’s waves and under the bow.  They were showing off to our guests on board… leaping high into the air, splashing down heavily and spiralling over each other.

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

22nd May –  On our 1pm cruise 4 dolphins were sighted at the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean Marina searching for food.  After swimming over to greet our guests on board they joined us for a ride on our boats waves to Stingray Point.  Our 2pm cruise sighted these same dolphins searching for food in front of Kings Carnival.  We cruised alongside them as they did so.

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

23rd May –  No dolphins were sighted this day along our cruise route.  However, one of our crew members on their day off on their jet ski sighted a large pod of 20 + dolphins in the Dawesville cut (20 mins south of central Mandurah).  They were happily cruising along, searching for food and mating.  It was like a large portion of Mandurah’s dolphins were just having a big catch up!  A similar event occurred last month when the full moon was approaching.  As noted previously, the date of and surrounding the full moon sees an increased level of dolphin activity and playfulness.  This large gathering of dolphins were very playful, riding under the bow and on the waves of our crew member’s vessel who captured plenty of footage on their GoPro camera.  A young calf (only a few months old) was extremely playful riding under the bow and slapping its tail demanding a ride on numerous occasions in the few hours that our crew member stayed with the large pod.  Many of the dolphins in the pod were also sighted spiralling over and nudging each other to get the prime position on the bow.  A one point in time our crew member reported having around 8 dolphins riding under the bow.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151611634959114&l=608145832271119704

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

dolphin - mandurah cruises

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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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News.com.au posted the following interesting article:

http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/adam-barrington-and-heather-barrington-plan-dolphin-assisted-birth-in-hawaii/story-fnet08ck-1226652657917

The article shares the story of a South Carolina couple who have travelled to Hawaii to give birth to their child in a dolphin-assisted delivery.  “Dolphins are very intelligent and healing which in turn calms mother and baby for the whole process,” says Mrs Boddington.  The Sirius Institute, a group which is aiming to ‘dolphinize the planet’, says it is receiving about three to four requests per week from people wanting to have a dolphin-assisted birth!

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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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