It´s a sight to behold that often brightens the eyes of many children even adults are not left untouched from the sensational sight of a dolphin jumping out of the water and playfully swimming through deep blue. Although we do recommend watching dolphins that live in freedom, and to avoid visiting dolphin shows, in which they are held in unworthy conditions and often learn tricks with more than questionable methods. Observing wild dolphins playing around is a completely different experience, a sailing charter allows for great opportunities to catch a glimpse of them. The surfacing of a dolphin family next to the boat is one of the most beautiful nature experiences while sailing and an objective for a considerable number of newcomers. Although they don’t stick around for long, they sure are the highlight of the day.
Even though a lot of people aren´t aware that you don´t need to fly to the Caribbean to see dolphins, its more than possible to enjoy the sight of them within the Mediterranean Sea. Especially Sailors that decide to sail over long distances and stray a considerable amount away from land have a high chance of seeing dolphins. It’s rare to spot dolphins if you are actively seeking them out, a better alternative is to just enjoy the view and keep your eyes peeled, and with some luck you´ll be able to observe the breathtaking spectacle and enjoy it to the fullest.
A sailing territory with a large of dolphin population is Croatia. Where the last dolphins of the Adriatic are, specifically the Bottlenose dolphins which are well known from dolphin shows in aquatic worlds as well as in the TV show Flipper. One can identify them by the comparatively large backwards angled fin. Bottlenose dolphins are very active and curious, which is one of the main reasons why they swim towards boats or get close to divers. In Croatian they are called “Dobri Dupin” which translated into English basically means “good dolphin”.
The name most likely originated from the many myths and stories told of dolphins saving sailors which were in distress at sea and had kept them afloat to not drown. A lot of these social animals spend most of the year in an area of around 5 km from the shore of Croatia. Therefore, spotting a group of dolphins over there is very likely.
There still are some tips from our side when meeting flippers friends: We recommend, to solely watch dolphins from aboard your ship and to not try and swim or physically interact with them. As after all no matter how helpful and playful they may seem they will always be wild animals, which are even capable of injuring small sharks. Dolphins react sensitive to loud noise and don’t like feeling surrounded or harassed.
In the following Croatian regions dolphins are spotted regularly:
• Istria (e.g. Brijuni national park)
• Kvarner region
Of course, there are also dolphins in different parts of the Mediterranean Sea, our crews spotted some in for example:
• South of Salerno, Italy along the Cilento coast
• Around the Peloponnese peninsula, Greece
• Within the entire central Adriatic
We hope that with these tips you will have a chance of meeting wild dolphins on your next sailing tour.