Everyone loves dolphins, but not many people know too much about them! Besides being cute and playful, dolphins are extremely smart and the Coastal Discovery Museum has announced a new boat cruise excursion to teach people more about these awesome creatures!
The cruise will be offered most Wednesdays in April and May from 10 a.m.-noon. The excursion will study acoustic communications between resident dolphins in the May River. While researchers from Dr. Eric Montie’s Lab at the University of South Carolina Beaufort visually identify and record dolphin vocalizations, marine biologist Captain Amber Kuehn will share what we have learned about these fascinating cetaceans. The research goals are to determine abundance, location, and individual identification of dolphins in the vicinity of Montie’s acoustic recorders that are deployed at three stations in the May River.
By going to one of these excursions, it is as if you are a part of some very important research to our island and to the dolphin community! You will be a part of a huge and important thing for these lovable porpoises!
Price: $55 per person (ages 10 and older only) and reservations are required by calling (843) 689-6767 ext. 223 or online at coastaldiscovery.org.
Dolphin watching is a Hilton Head Island tradition but if you are lucky enough to witness the dolphins engaging in strand feeding you’ll take home a memory that you’ll cherish forever. Captain Deb from Outside Hilton Head captured this footage of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins practicing a feeding behavior knows as Strand Feeding, unique to our local Dolphin populations. The spectacular foraging behavior usually involves one to six dolphins corralling a school of fish in a tidal creek at or around low tide. Working together they track their prey in the murky waters of the creek, the dolphins circle the fish, herding them into a tighter school and toward a gently sloping mud bank. Then, with an explosive burst of speed, the dolphins create a bow wave which throws the fish up out of the water and onto the mud bank. The dolphins then slide up out of the water and onto the bank, scooping up the fish. They then slide back into the water and regroup to corral and strand more fish. They usually repeat this behavior many times during the period around low tide until the banks again submerge below the water. Young dolphin calves learn this risky behavior by watching their mothers though they rarely participate. You can book a Dolphin Watching Tour through Outside Hilton Head at 843-686-6996 and maybe you will be lucky enough to see this in person!