Mother nature often gives scuba divers some amazing experiences in the waters around Sydney. Over the past month on a number of the divers on our guided shore dives and the students on a number of our dive courses have experienced dolphins diving with them. The dolphins have been encountered on a number of days both at Oak Park and The Steps.
Bottlenose dolphins are well known as the intelligent and charismatic stars of many aquarium shows. Their curved mouths give the appearance of a friendly, permanent smile, and they can be trained to perform complex tricks.
These dolphins are sleek swimmers can reach speeds of over 30 kilometers an hour so as divers they either come to the divers or the divers don’t get to see them. In the case of the Oak Park sightings the dolphins came to the divers over 3 consecutive days.
Bottlenose dolphins normally travel in social pods and communicate with each other by a complex system of squeaks and whistles. As divers we often see pods of dolphins as we are entering or exiting the water at sites such as Oak Park or Captain Cooks Park at Kurnell.
Bottlenose dolphins track their prey through the expert use of echolocation. They can make up to 1,000 clicking noises per second. These sounds travel underwater until they encounter objects, then bounce back to their dolphin senders, revealing the location, size, and shape of their target.
When dolphins are feeding, that target is often a bottom-dwelling fish, though they also eat shrimp and squid. These clever animals are also sometimes spotted following fishing boats in hopes of dining on leftovers.
For divers who have witnessed wild dolphins, there is often no comparison to any other ocean experience. For those who have yet to experience it, it certainly is an encounter to look forward to. So plan to go for a dive soon.