There are over 50 different species of dolphins and porpoises. Despite this, if you were to close your eyes and imagine a dolphin, chances are you’d picture a bottlenose dolphin.
Bottlenose dolphins are light to dark gray with white underbellies, seemingly smiling mouths, and a pronounced snout. They get up to around 6 to 9 feet in length and the coastal variety can reach upwards of 600 pounds.
Bottlenose dolphins are not the only species of dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico but those seen from the shore and from boats near the shore almost invariably are.
Bottlenose dolphins are not only common, they’re also popular. Much of this is due to their regular appearance in aquarium shows and in movies and on television in shows like “Flipper.” The aquatic mammals are quite intelligent, too. Studies show they can mimic, use language, and have self-recognition.
In the wild, they often interact with humans and stories abound of them leading ships to safety and driving fish into fishermen’s nets. Bottlenose dolphins are naturally curious and, while also wary of people and boats, are more likely to swim closer to a boat to investigate than many other large ocean creatures.
Consequently, going out on a wild dolphin cruise is a great way to get up close to a bottlenose dolphin!
A wild dolphin cruise will take you out to where the dolphins are so you can experience them in their own habitat. Coastal bottlenose tend to be found in groups of two to six. The animals you see on your wild dolphin cruise will likely be hunting for fish or crustaceans.
Once dolphins are spotted, your tour guide may turn off the boat engine. This increases the chance for these wonderful creatures to come in closer to the boat. Dolphins love to leap and chase in a boat’s wake as well as frolic and play with each other as they hunt. So exciting!
While there is no guarantee you’ll see dolphins on your cruise, the chances are extremely good. So good, in fact, that most cruises offer a guarantee – see a dolphin or your next cruise is free! It is illegal to chase dolphins in a boat and feeding or touching dolphins is federally prohibited.
Alabama Wild Dolphin Cruise
There are a number of companies offering Alabama wild dolphin cruises. Below are two that come to mind.
Cold Mil Fleet Dolphin Cruise – www.dolphincruises.com
Enjoy a smooth, 1½-hour cruise in a 50-foot Navy transport boat with unobstructed, 360-degree views.
Dolphins Down Under – www.dolphinsdownunder.net
See dolphins and other creatures frolic beneath your feet on this 1½-hour long, glass-bottomed boat tour.
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