The Short-Beaked Common Dolphin (Delphinus delphis) is our most regularly spotted cetacean in recent years.
Common Dolphins have become a very regular sighting over recent years in our plying area. Some weeks in July and August they have been present pretty much every day. Turus Mara skippers will regularly search out these beautiful animals, provided it doesn’t divert us too far from our timetables! Common Dolphins are such playful, energetic creatures it really is a privilege to share the sea with them.
As with other dolphins they display many different behaviours, sometimes just getting on with their own business of feeding, playing, resting, travelling etc. paying little attention to their human visitors. Often, though they seek us and our boats out, in what seems like purely joyous and mutual interaction. it is hard not to feel special when wild creatures deliberately and apparently in great excitement, come to see you, clicking and whistling in delight! Often they will bow-ride, coming and going to and from the boat, splashing in the wider bow wave and in the wake; interchanging places with each other regularly.
The Common Dolphin is found across much of the planet although it is often found in warmer tropical waters. Reaching weights 150 kilogrammes a large adult male can be over two and a half metres in length. They will nip along at speeds up to 60 kilometres per hour for short bursts. Their diet tends to be ‘mid-water’ fish like mackerel and herring. They will also work together co-operatively to create bait balls that make feeding easier for all.
While the pods we encounter number most often in the tens or twenties we do also often see groupings of fifty or sixty plus. Occasionally these groupings join up to form what are known as ‘superpods’ with hundreds and hundreds en mass. This spectacle is not easily forgotten with the sea seemingly alive with dolphins in all directions!