The first baby dolphin of 2014 has just been born in Koombana Bay! How cute is the little bub above?!
“We took this photo on Valentines day. The calf, who we’ve just named “Cookie” is doing well and was about 10 days old (we reckon) when this image was taken above with her Mum who’s called Cracker, ” Said Randal Counihan (Murdoch University) who snapped the photo above.
Cookie weighs in about 30kg and measures up to about the length of your arm.
“The dolphins have chosen the area as the ideal location to introduce their babies to the world because of its protection from ocean swells and winds, and an abundance of food in the area, thanks to the Leschenault Estuary and because of a lack of predators such as sharks,” said Phil Coultard in the South Western Times.
Bunbury is renowned for its wild bottlenose dolphins that live in Koombana Bay, and the not-for-profit Dolphin Discovery Centre is a fabulous place to visit not only for its fantastic interpretative centre, but also for the chance to spot dolphins. You can wade out into the shallows to get close to them (under supervision), or book on a boat tour and swim with them.
Dolphin Discovery Centre, Bunbury
- You’ll find the Dolphin Discover Centre on the arc of Koombana Bay along a beautiful stretch of beach with a look-out/viewing point for dolphin watching.
- There are ‘Swim with dolphin’ tours, beach encounters and eco-boat trips – you might even spot a calf, if you’re lucky!
- In the main building you’ll find an interpretive centre along with marine life such as sea horses, turtles and octupus which are being rehabilitated ready for life back in the ocean. There’s also a gift shop and a café.
- You could watch the 3D dolphin movie (7 minutes)
- Or you could adopt a dolphin. How about Tangles, Shanty, Osho, Nicky, Levy or Shredder?
- You’ll find up to 40 volunteers from all over the world working at the centre, and if you’d like to volunteer then speak to the management. “I love the interaction with tourists and the dolphins, and I enjoy helping to keep the beach clean and educating kids about marine life,” Bec, one of the volunteers told me.
What’s Great about Koombana Bay?
There’s the beach itself, which is a beautiful sandy arc with clear, calm waters. There’s a kids playground and a small beachside cafe. Beach volleyball on some evenings, free BBQ’s, not to mention spectacular sunsets.
If you’d like to read more about the magic of the eco-boat-tours and dolphin encounter experiences at the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Bunbury, perhaps you’ll like this post: Dolphin Discovery Centre and why a dolphin experience can be life changing.
Fast Facts about Dolphins
I spoke to the Dolphin Discovery Centre General Manager , David Kerr who told me that there are about 16 to 17 calves born each year in Koombana Bay. “However, not all of them survive,” he said. “About 50% of them will make it, the others succumb to disease or predators.”
Did you Know …
- Adult dolphins weight between 150 and 200kg.
- Dolphins can catch human colds.
- Baby dolphins are pale in colour, wrinkly and may have vertical creases running along their bodies.
- Baby dolphins are awkward swimmers, often jump out of the water to breathe, and cause their mums stress because the breathing process takes them quite a while to learn.
For more amazing dolphin facts why not read: 8 Weird and Wonderful Facts about Dolphins It includes information about the dolphins at Monkey Mia, in Shark Bay up on the north west coast.
More places to spot dolphins in Western Australia
The whole coastline from the north west to the south west offers awesome dolphin spotting opportunities.
You could be having a coffee at Dome Cafe in Bunbury (Why Live in Bunbury) and spot a pod of dolphins playing or fishing really close to where you’re sitting. Or perhaps you may be standing at a look-out on Ocean Drive and suddenly spot two or three dolphins leaping out of the water.
Further up the coast there are dolphin spotting boat trips going out of Monkey Mia, Geraldton, Perth, Rockingham and Mandurah, while heading south of Bunbury you’ll often be able to see Dolphins in Busselton (off the jetty), or in boat trips out of Augusta and around the Hardy Inlet.
We are lucky to live in a part of the world where dolphins are abundant, and we should never for one moment take them for granted. They are magical, mystical creatures with an intelligence that shouldn’t be underrated.
Once you’ve had a close-up dolphin encounter, you’ll never forget it.
Where in Western Australia have you spotted dolphins? Or where in the world have you had a great dolphin experience?