Boating With the Dolphins

Dolphin tail

It was a beautiful December day here in Florida yesterday with temps in the 70’s and partly cloudy skies. So we went out cruising around on our flats boat.

We saw a lot of dolphins. And just to be clear, I am a horrible wildlife photographer. I can get some pretty good photos of living mollusks only because they move very slowly. And dolphins are only visible for a second or two as they hit the surface to get air.

In the photo below I just happened to be aiming toward the coast to get a picture of the condos beyond the backwater. I never even saw the dolphin, but my son did. When I checked the photo, sure enough there he was just hitting the surface.

Dolphin and condos in the distance
A dolphin just surfaced as I took this photo of condos on the coast

A dolphin came up right next to the boat so I grabbed my iPhone and waited to see him again. He stayed down under the water for a very long time and surfaced on the other side of the boat. Of course I was not ready for the shot! No worries – the dolphin were everywhere.

Dolphin poppin up

The last time I was out on the water there were no dolphins visible. The tide was high then, and this time the tide was low and going out. We were wondering if the lower water pushed the dolphin out of the shallow channels so we would see more of them in the main channels. I should pay attention to the tides in reference to dolphin sightings.

The manatees have left the cold (68 degrees) water this time of year for warmer places, like the many Springs and warm water runoff sights. But dolphin can be seen year round.

Below I managed to get a dolphin’s tail just before it submerged.

Dolphin tail just out of the water
Dolphin tail

As we headed back to the boat ramp we saw a couple of dolphin swimming in a circle and playing, or eating.

More Boating Photos

Boating in December in Florida

There is nothing too exciting to see here, just a pretty day on the water. We didn’t do any fishing, and I saw no hermit crabs along the island beach where we usually stop.

Indian River and South causeway
North Causeway in New Smyrna Beach behind us

Behind us was the bridge in New Smyrna, the North Causeway. We saw quite a few boats out parked at the sand bars or fishing along the mangroves. The sun is more “normal” this time of year so you don’t bake within five minutes. It is more enjoyable.

There was a nearly invisible crab trap buoy right in the channel. Boaters look for the markers to avoid getting tangled in the rope or hitting the metal traps. This one was nearly impossible to see.

crab trap buoy
Crab trap placed in the way of boat traffic and with a hard-to-see buoy

The white birds and black birds we usually see were in the water and along the shorelines. The black ones are either Anhingas or Cormorants. The white birds are Egrets. For more photos of water birds (which are way better than mine) read this post by a vacationer.

I’m not good at identifying Florida birds (or getting their photo), except for the obvious types such as pelicans, Roseate spoonbills, Sandhill Cranes and seagulls.

Anhinga or cormorant water bird
Probably a cormorant

Author: Pam

Spending time on the water is the best, and blogging about the sea life found along the saltwater river and ocean is what I do. I’m also a designer at Zazzle and sell my work, with a lot of ocean themes, on the site.

4 thoughts on “Boating With the Dolphins”

  1. I am no expert on dolphins, but i think they are summer vistors. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream may have something to do with it (and fish, of course).

  2. My photos are certainly nothing special, but I felt lucky to get that much. Imagine the patience wildlife photographers must have! I was surprised when I first learned that dolphins inhabited the water in your area. I guess I always thought of them as tropical animals.

  3. Yes, dolphins move fast and are very difficult to photograph. I was very lucky that when I saw three off the coast of Donegal this year I happened to have my camera in my hand (with zoom lens) taking photos of the islands around me and even then the photos were disappointing (to me). I have great respect for wildlife photographers!

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