I suppose that getting pictures of the Dolphins while staying at the Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is a bit of a given, however getting something that stands out is a bit harder. I’m still going through the hundreds of Dolphin pictures that I took but this one stood out initially due to the clarity of the water, the intriguing reflection of the air bubbles on Samu’s dorsal fin and, of course, his cute grin 😎
Every morning the Rangers feed the Dolphins near the jetty at Monkey Mia. Starting at 7:30am there are generally 3 feeding times over the next few hours depending on how many times the dolphins return.
During each feeding one of the Park Rangers will give a talk about the Dolphins and Monkey Mia. Rather than repeat an identical talk each time the Rangers will simply chat to the crowd, sharing their knowledge and experiences with the dolphins meaning that you could turn up to each feeding time and still learn something new and interesting.
The whole experience is breathtaking, the Dolphins will swim right by your feet (no touching is allowed) and you are taught to identify each Dolphin by the markings on their dorsal fins making each encounter more personal. There is even a chart you can buy from the DEC shop showing the markings on each of the Dolphins fins and their family tree.
For anyone who loves wildlife this has to be one of the best experiences you will ever have 🙂
These images are of Samu, one of the newest additions to Monkey Mia. Samu was born on 12/12/2009 to Puck, a 34year old regular at Monkey Mia feedings. Samu is one of the few Dolphins around that still has an unmarked dorsal fin, most Dolphins will eventually get nicks out of their fins / backs from shark attacks, fisherman or boats giving them the dolphin equivalent of a fingerprint.
Here are a few facts about the Dophins that I learned from the Rangers at Monkey Mia:
1. The dolphins that visit Monkey Mia are Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops Aduncus).
2. Female wild Dolphins can live into their late 40’s while male tend to live till their mid 30’s.
3. Female Dolphins will generally give birth to 1 calf which they will nurse for around 3 – 4 years after which they will mate and give birth to another calf. This is a continuous cycle for a female Dolphin from the age of 12.
4. Dolphins can see very well both underwater and above water due to a adjustment that occurs to their lens and cornea when above water.
5. Breathing is a voluntary action for Dolphins so sleeping involves shutting down half their brain and closing one eye while floating on the surface. It is also not possible to anaesthetise a dolphin as they would not be able to breath.
6. Dolphins can swim at up to 40km/h, faster than Sharks which often makes them too much effort (sharks are opportunistic feeders). Sharks will, however, often prey on young Dolphins.
Thanks to all the Rangers at Monkey Mia, you’re doing a great job and we really enjoyed our time there 🙂
If any of the information above is incorrect please feel free to let me know and I’ll correct it.
Tip: For those of you interested I didn’t use a polarising filter for these shots, although I did try one out for a few of my other dolphin shots. To make sure that your photos can see through the water (rather than getting a reflected glare) simply make sure you are shooting with your back to the sun.
Technical Details (All 3 Shots): Canon 5D MK II, Single RAW Shot, Canon 17-40mm @ 22mm, handheld, 1/1250 sec, f9, ISO 400. Images processed in Adobe Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4.
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