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Mandurah’s Dolphins Show Off As Per Usual!

The 2nd half of July and 1st week of August saw temperatures again average 18 degrees and 17 of the 28 days record rain.  As previously mentioned, although we are in the winter months and experiencing cooler weather with rain, this doesn’t deter the dolphins.  They live in water and so the rain doesn’t bother them at all.  Our waterways are also calm, protected and warmer than the ocean so it makes an ideal place of residence for the dolphins.  They don’t migrate like whales and so we still see the dolphins in large numbers at this time of the year.  In fact, over this 4 week period, on days where rain was recorded we experienced the most dolphin sightings!  As per usual, Mandurah’s dolphins showed off to our guests on board… swimming along bellies up, slapping their tales in a playful manner, chasing and spiraling over each other, leaping about and launching high off of our boat’s waves.  Dolphins are very curious creatures and so are often very quick to approach us just to check out our guests – to watch us as we watch them, and to be social – greet our guests to Mandurah’s waters and to say hello.  On one occasion this month they came over to our boat and swam around us, rolling over and swimming along bellies up and floated around, watching our guests on board.  On a number of occasions this month dolphins that approached our vessels slapped their tales on the water’s surface to encourage us to accelerate and give them a free ride – Of course we were happy to oblige!

A Very pregnant dolphin (at least 2/3 through carrying its calf) was sighted on a few occasions.  How did our crew know this dolphin was pregnant?  Well, aside from having a massive belly, its belly was also pink in colour which is an indication that the dolphin is pregnant.  It is uncommon for Mandurah’s dolphins to be at this stage of pregnancy at this time of year.  They most commonly give birth in the summer months… December – March.  A number of calves born over the 2012/2013 summer period were sighted during this 4 week period and all appeared to be doing well and sticking close to their mother’s side at all times.  As mentioned in previous blogs, dolphin calves stay by their mother’s side and suckle their mother’s milk for up to 18 months.  The females generally stay together for their entire life while the males venture off after about 6 years of age from their birth pods and live alone or join other pods for a short period of time.

On most occasions that we sighted dolphins, they were searching for food.  They are usually happy to take a break from their search for food and join us for a ride or play time as they don’t have any particular feeding times – there is an abundance of their choice of food in Mandurah’s waterways all day.  Our cruises give guests on board a fantastic view of the dolphins as they put on a fine display of their hunting skills.

8th July –  Our 3pm cruise sighted a pod of 6 dolphins near the southern entrance of the Port Mandurah Canals.  On our approach they swam over to our boat to greet our guests on board and join us for a ride under our bow to the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge.  They were a very cheeky pod, swimming along bellies up, slapping their tales in a playful manner and spiraling over each other.

 mandurah cruises dolphin

mandurah cruises dolphin

13th July –  On our 1pm cruise 4 dolphins were sighted in stage 1 of the Port Mandurah Canals.  They were happily playing around in the middle of the canal… chasing each other and throwing around a bunch of seaweed.  The water was very clear and so all of our guests on board had a fantastic view of the dolphins.  After observing them from nearby for a short while, they swam over to our boat to greet our guests.  They chased each other around our boat and spiraled over each other bellies up before slapping their tales on the water’s surface to encourage us to accelerate and give them a free ride. They enjoyed a ride under our boat’s waves and on our boat’s waves into stage 2 of the port Mandurah Canals before being distracted by a passing school of fish and racing off in the opposite direction to chase them.

mandurah cruises dolphin

14th July –  4 dolphins were sighted on our 2pm cruise searching for food at the entrance to the Waterside Canals.  As we cruised alongside them they joined us for a ride on our boat’s waves and under our boat’s bow to the Peel Inlet where we could not proceed any further.  On our 4pm cruise 2 dolphins were sighted near the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  They joined us for a short ride towards the ocean before diving deep under the strong currents.  As they rode our boat’s waves and swam along bellies up under our boats bow our hostess reported that one of the dolphins had a “massive belly” and that it was a light pink colour which indicates it may be pregnant.  Our hostess said, “Either it is pregnant or has eaten too many fish”.

mandurah cruises dolphin

15th July –  Our 3pm cruise sighted 2 dolphins near Stingray Point, in the main Mandurah Estuary Channel.  They were casually swimming along towards the Old Mandurah Traffic Bridge and joined us for a ride on our boat’s waves as we cruised alongside them.

mandurah cruises dolphin

16th July –  On our 1pm cruise 4 dolphins were sighted searching for some lunch at the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  A mother and her young calf born in the 2012/2013 summer were a part of this pod.  They were all too busy searching for food to be interested in joining us for a ride and so we observed them from nearby as they went about their way.

mandurah cruises dolphin

17th July –  4 dolphins were sighted on our 11am cruise in stage 6 of the Port Mandurah Canals.  They were chasing fish, thrashing around and creating sand clouds in the water to blind their pray.  Our guests onboard had a fantastic view of all the action as we observed this pod of dolphins from nearby.  On our 12 noon cruise 2 dolphins were sighted near the Mariners cove ‘The Islands’ entrance.  They were searching for food in too shallow of waters for us to get too close to them.  Our 1pm cruise sighted 6 dolphins near the southern entrance to the Port Mandurah Canals.  They were busy searching for food and so weren’t too interested in us as we cruised alongside them.  2 members of this pod were young calves born in the 2012/2013 Summer/Autumn.  Both appeared to be doing well and still sticking close to their mother’s side at all times.  A lone male dolphin was sighted along the shallows of Fairbridge Bank on our 2pm cruise.  As per usual with lone male dolphins, it was searching for food and not interested in being social with us and so we observed him from nearby.

mandurah cruises dolphin

19th July –  Our 3pm cruise sighted 2 dolphins in the shallow waters near the Mandurah War Memorial.  They were chasing fish and using the rock walls and rounding up techniques together to assist them in making their catch.  We observed them from nearby as they put on a fine display of their hunting skills.

mandurah cruises dolphin

21st July –  On our 1pm cruise 2 dolphins were sighted near the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge searching for some lunch.  On our approach they joined us for a ride under our boat’s bow to the Peel Inlet.  As per usual they showed off to our guests on board swimming along belly side up and spiraling over each other.

mandurah cruises dolphin

22nd July –  4 dolphins were sighted on our 11am cruise, searching for food near the Old Mandurah Traffic Bridge.  This pod was in a very playful mood and were quick to join us for a ride on our boat’s waves and under our boat’s bow to the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge.  Our hostess reported that they were all very large dolphins.  The dolphin sighted on one of our cruises on 14th July with the big belly was a part of this pod.  Our hostess again reported that this dolphin must be pregnant with such a big belly and the belly being light pink in colour.  Our 1pm cruise sighted another pod of 6 dolphins searching for food near the Old Mandurah Traffic Bridge.  They were all adult dolphins and after observing them from nearby for a short while, they came over to our boat to greet our guests on board and join us for a ride on our boat’s waves to the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge.  They leapt about and put on a very impressive performance.

mandurah cruises dolphin

23rd July –  Our 11am cruise sighted 2 dolphins at the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean Marina.  They joined us for a ride under our boat’s bow to the ocean entrance where we could not proceed any further.  4 dolphins were sighted on our 1pm cruise in the Mandurah Estuary channel leaping about in another vessel’s wake.  They dropped off along Fairbridge Bank to search for some lunch and so we observed them from nearby as they rounded up fish.

mandurah cruises dolphin

24th July –  On our 1pm cruise, Nicki, Giggles and the gang were sighted at the Southern entrance to the Port Mandurah Canals.  They were casually swimming along in the direction of the Peel Inlet.  On our approach they swam over to our boat and joined us for a ride on our boats waves and under our boat’s bow to the New Estuary Bridge.  Much to the excitement of our guests on board, they put on a spectacular display, leaping about on our boat’s waves and spiraling over and chasing each other.

mandurah cruises dolphin

25th July –  4 dolphins were sighted on our 1pm cruise near the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge searching for food.  On our approach they were quick to join us for a ride on our boat’s waves to the Peel Inlet where we could not proceed any further.  They were a very playful pod, scoring some impressive air time as they launched high off of our boat’s waves.

mandurah cruises dolphin

27th July –  Our 11am cruise sighted 6 dolphins chasing fish between Fairbridge Bank and Stingray Point.  They were too busy catching a feed to be interested in us and so we observed them from nearby as they went about their way.  2 dolphins (a mother and her calf approximately 1 year old) were sighted on our 1pm cruise in the Mandurah Ocean Marina searching for food.  We observed them from nearby before they diverted into the Venetian style canals.  On our 3pm cruise 3 dolphins were sighted searching for food in the Port Mandurah Canals.  They were using the rock walls to assist them in rounding up fish and appeared to be having luck with a few fish being thrown onto the rocks.  One of these 3 dolphins was a young calf born in the summer of 2012/2013 and appeared to be doing well.

mandurah cruises dolphin

28th July –  On our 11am cruise a lone male dolphin was sighted at the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean marina.  It was diving deep in search of food and so we only had a few quick glimpses of it before we had to proceed along our cruise route.  3 dolphins were sighted on our 1pm cruise at the entrance to the Mandurah Ocean Marina searching for some lunch.  We later sighted another 3 dolphins near the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge casually swimming along to the Peel Inlet.  They joined us for a ride on our boats waves to the Peel Inlet entrance where we could not proceed any further.  Our 2pm cruise sighted 6 dolphins near the New Mandurah Estuary Bridge heading towards the city centre.  On our approach they swam over to our boat to greet our guests on board and join us for a ride on our boat’s waves to the Old Mandurah Traffic Bridge.  They leapt about and showed off as Mandurah’s cheeky dolphins often do.  On our 3pm cruise 3 dolphins were sighted near the Mandurah War Memorial rounding up fish, they were using the canal rock walls to assist them in doing so and we observed them from nearby.

mandurah cruises dolphin

29th July –  3 dolphins were sighted by our crew on their way to the jetty to commence cruising for the day.  This pod was in a very playful mood and joined us for a surf on our boat’s waves from the Mandurah Ocean Marina to Stingray Point.  It was also reported that a very large number around 60+ dolphins were sighted in the Peel Inlet during the day.

mandurah cruises dolphin

2nd August –  Our 11am cruise sighted 2 dolphins in the Port Mandurah Canals searching for  an early lunch.  We observed them from nearby as they went about their way.  The water was very clear and so all guests on board could see the dolphins diving and then picking up speed, chasing the fish.  On our 12 noon cruise 6 dolphins were sighted near the Mandurah War Memorial casually swimming along into the Port Mandurah Canals.  They were quick to swim over to our boat on our approach to greet our guests on board.  They were very interested in us… swimming around the boat, rolling over and swimming along belly side up and watching our guests.  After a while we proceeded along our cruise route and they joined us for ride under our boat’s bow and on our boat’s waves into stage 2 of the Port Mandurah Canals.

mandurah cruises 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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The ABC and The Australian posted the following interesting articles:

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2013/08/07/3819357.htm

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/dolphins-remember-acquaintances/story-fn3dxix6-1226695390303

They say an elephant never forgets, but a new study has found dolphins can remember the call of another dolphin decades later!  Dolphins are the first animals science has found whose social memories seem to rival those of humans… It is the longest memory shown outside of humans.  Animal behaviourist Dr Jason Bruck, from the University of Chicago reports that it is unclear why dolphins might have such long memories of former relationships.  One reason he suggests is that, “Dolphins have a “fission-fusion” social structure, which means that groups separate and re-form throughout the lives of individuals. They might need to remember previous social relationships to quickly tell a friend or possible mate from a competitor.” He compares their auditory social memory to that of humans who more often use facial recognition, “Being able to remember individuals and recognise them over years is important for humans too.  If every time you ran into somebody, imagine how difficult your life would be if you didn’t know who they were.”

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Mandurah Weather

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Wednesday
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High 18° / Low 8°
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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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