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.

This photo was taken by my friend Kim on an eco-cruise going out from the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre in December.

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.
The wide arc of Koombana Bay with the Dolphin Discovery Centre on the right.

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?

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  1. Neva Fels @ Retire for the Fun of it

    What neat pictures of the dolphin and the baby. We loved getting to see dolphins at Sea World in Florida. My son worked at Sea World in the laser lighting department and gave us the “employee tour.” We got the VIP treatment and loved being the proud parents, although we could never explain what he did. He knows all about lasers and we haven’t a clue, so we can’t brag about teaching him everything he knows.

  2. I love seeing pods of dolphins in the wild. We’re often out in the dinghy at Rottnest and they swim by, sometimes throwing fish into the air or surfing in the waves. They are such peaceful and mesmerising creatures..I could sit there for hours watching them. ‘Cookie’ looks so cute…swimming with them would be fun!

  3. How wonderful Jenny! Being on the water at Rottnest as they swim by must be magical. Yes they are mesmerising, and deserve all the attention they can get. I’d love to swim with Cookie – so cute, hey!

  4. That’s funny about the lasers, Neva! How wonderful to get to Sea World in Florida, it’s somewhere I’ve always had a great desire to get to. When I was younger and living in England I can remember being rather envious of some friends who were going to Florida to see the dolphins!

  5. I hope I get to have some encounters with dolphins when we visit the west. They are such adorable creatures. I watched a story about dolphins being slaughtered in Japan on Sunday night and I was so upset by it. How could anyone harm beautiful dolphins? You have just given me one more reason to get excited about visiting your part of Australia!

  6. Oh Johanna, I LOVE, LOVE Dolphins! One of my favorite tv shows as a little boy was a show here in the States called, “Flipper”. And what an amazing blast from the past because when I first got Internet access some 20 years ago I read about being able to possibly swim with them in Monkey Mia! Thank you…this post soooo made me smile when I got home from work tonight 🙂

  7. Hi Mike, glad the post made you smile. How amazing that you read 20 years ago about the dolphins at Monkey Mia. I believe in Bunbury too, it all started when a lady would feed the dolphins from a little boat and they would keep on coming back to her. Yes, I used to watch Flipper too!

  8. Oh, I’m so glad Kathy! Yes, I’m sure you’ll get a chance to see them when you’re over here. I’ve heard about that story you mention, and it makes me shudder. I know, how can people be so cruel?

  9. Sweeeet!! When I was expecting son number 1 – soon to be 17 – we travelled from Darwin to Perth, and one of our stops was at Monkey Mia where we met the dolphins. We often see them down at Jervis Bay but not very close usually. Last year when ocean swimming in a group well beyond the breakers at Mona Vale in Sydney we were visited by 6 dolphins, that was amazing. Always special.

  10. Great to hear about your experiences on the East Coast too, Seanna. Fantastic when wild dolphins swim up to you isn’t it! Was it That long ago you were over this side … seems like a trip might be in order 🙂

  11. What a great post Jo. I’m going to forward the link on to friend Michaela who’s just headed back to Sweden. She’s been a Dolphin Discovery Centre volunteer and she too will be delighted to read this post and see the images.

  12. Oh that’s lovely, thanks Wanda. Great to connect back to volunteers 🙂

  13. How wonderful it would be to be sitting in a cafe and have dolphins jumping nearby. It would be so good to see a wrinkly baby dolphin learning how to breathe and swim. You are very lucky to live where this is possible.

  14. Hey Jan! We keep reminding ourselves that this is still a fairly unknown pocket of Australia and yes, as such we are so lucky to still get so close to nature … It must have been even more unique when you were here.

  15. Happy birthday 🙂 Nice collection of shots. I was fortunate enough to see a few little ones a few years ago in Croatia.

  16. Thanks! That sounds interesting Bob. We’d love to visit Croatia too.

  17. Very interesting facts about dolphins.
    That little one does sound and look adorable. Hope she lives to a ripe old age in dolphin years.

  18. Thanks, and Yes, I hope so too Marcia 🙂 Let’s hope she’s past the most vulnerable age, and clever Mom bringing her close to shore I reckon 🙂

  19. We love dolphins and these are some adorable ones. It’s great to know that they have quite a few volunteers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a baby one. Thanks for the fun facts. Very interesting about then catching human colds. Wishing that baby a healthy life.

  20. Hello Mary! thanks for your comments. Yes the Centre gets lots of volunteers from all around the world. It’s great!

  21. I would love to see these wild bottle-nosed dolphins. There are supposedly dolphins in the waters around Penang island, but I’ve never seen them. Do they take short term volunteers at Koombana Bay, or it more of a long term thing? I would love to be a volunteer for a day.

  22. Dolphins are super cute, and one thing in bucket list is swim with them. Your post is informative, and I got some good knowledge, thank you.

  23. Fantastic! I could definitely make a day of it at the Dolphine Ctr. It’s great to see these beautiful creatures being protected and looked after. Thanks for linking up this week!

  24. No probs, Nancie, and I link to travel Photo Thursday in my sidebar 🙂 yes, I reckon you would get a lot out of a visit to the Dolphin Discovery Centre!

  25. So glad you gained a little more knowledge about dolphins from this post Kadra 🙂

  26. I think they accept only long term volunteers Michelle, but if you would really like to volunteer for a day, I can ask on your behalf?

  27. Our first close up dolphin encounter was years and years ago at Monkey Mia when you could camp on the beach and walk into the water to be surrounded by dolphins any time of the day. An incredible experience I will never forget. My husband reckoned it was a wonder I didn’t grow fins!

  28. Ha ha Jill! I bet that was absolutely wonderful! What a time to live in WA 🙂 It’s a shame things have to change, but when a destination becomes popular they do need protecting from the masses.

  29. Glad you enjoyed it Kadri. Hope you get to swim with dolphins one day 🙂

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