|A spinner dolphin beside our bangka.|
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For years now, since moving to Puerto Princesa, Palawan, I have heard that the dolphin watching was quite an experience. We never went out on the bay until a few weeks ago when Dave bought his own bangka and parked it in Turtle Bay, just 1 km. in back of where we live.
When we first got here, everyone was going on and on about the Puerto Princesa Underground River. Which we have now seen thrice! It is truly amazing.
Yet for me, nothing compares to the feeling of being surrounded by all these spinner dolphins, so close we could almost touch them. The first time we went out, we came upon them within 15 minutes of setting out! Then my camera battery died!!!
(Since I posted this, I have been asked if you can swim with the dolphins. First, it's not allowed, and secondly, the boat is moving, so it's not possible to swim with them. Once you spot the dolphins, one has to literally catch up to them in the bangka. Once they spot you, they will slow down and then swim along side the bangka. Then they will disappear again and surface somewhere else. Then you have to head out to them again. So it's sort of a gentle chase situation.)
The second time we brought a friend and her son, but the waves were pretty high and we only caught a glimpse of a large school in the distance before it was time to get back to shore.
This last time, the day before my 64th birthday, we went out and got to the spot at around 8am. Lo and behold, dolphins to the right, then to the left and pretty soon spinner dolphins were everywhere we looked!
I think it was the most amazing, wonderful and magical experience of my life and I will never forget this day with the dolphins.
|We had several children with us and they screamed and cheered. The more they cheered, the more dolphins would appear and do their acrobatics! Apparently up to 200 individual dolphins can comprise one school!|
|These spinner dolphins swam around, under and beside our bangka! One could almost touch them. (Not allowed though.) Their only reward was our screams of absolute glee. Feeding the dolphins is not allowed.|
|Sept. 7, 2012|
|Sept.7, 2012 - shot with a GoPro Hero Camera in a waterproof housing.|
|Sept. 7, 2012 - A spinner dolphin spinning...imagine that!|
|Sept. 7, 2012 - Shot above water with a GoPro Hero Cam in a waterproof housing from the bow of the bangka. This is a mother dolphin with her youngster!|
|Ghostly image of the dolphins under the water beside our boat..|
|Here we are with our crew in the back, after the experience heading back to Turtle Bay where we park our bangka. That's me in the hat and Dave in front of me.|
|This is an unfinished resort we see every time we go out on the boat across the cove in Turtle bay.|
|Our bangka, Laika, which Dave bought for us to be able to enjoy the waters around us and experience the sea creatures and clear waters in the area.|
One has to be careful this time of year because the Habagat (southwesterly winds come up around 11 am). There are tours you can buy at most of the tour guide agencies in town and they will have the schedule.
We are lucky we can go out anytime we want since we now have our own bangka. It's best to leave very early in the morning when the seas are calm.
Here are some other links about the spinner dolphins in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Another blog about this experience:
A video on YouTube, not the greatest but it shows how clear the water is and how close the dolphins get.