Thursday, January 24, 2013

How To Spot Dolphins In the Wild

Yucca Point, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, San Diego
Wonder what they could be looking at or pointing to each other? 
It could be brown pelicans gliding with the wave.
CA Brown Pelicans ( photo by hubby)
Or it can be a gray whale on their way South to Baja California, Mexico.
Gray Whale migrating South seen from on top of Razor Point @ Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve  ( photo by hubby )
Or it may be a group of dolphins having fun with the waves.
Playful Dolphins ( photo by hubby )
Whenever we get near the bluffs that looks out to the sea when we hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, we try to look out into the ocean to see if there are fluke prints ( for whales ) and long blue lines ( for dolphins).
Looking Out into the Sea from Broken Hill, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, San Diego
We learned about the whale's fluke prints from our yearly whale watching cruise in San Diego. Since learning about the fluke prints, it had been part of our fun whenever we go hiking at Torrey Pines to look for them. Looking out for fluke prints had led us to discover the blue lines. The long blue lines you may spot in the ocean can be caused by speeding boats or jet skiis, or can be a parade of dolphins. The blue line created by parading dolphins was the result of hubby's observation since no one told us about that. 
Dolphin's Blue Line ( how many dolphins can you see in the parade?)
Whenever we see a blue line out there in the ocean, if there is no boat nor jet ski in front that could have created the line, hubby would check with his zoom lens if there were dolphins. His hypothesis was always confirmed, and I would always hear his excited voice saying: " I knew it.....I knew it....there would be dolphins!"
I won't take the credit for spotting dolphins in the wild, for oftentimes, it is my hubby who sees them first, because he wears prescription glasses for distance, hehe. However, as soon as he shouts, "DOLPHINS IN PARADE", I too would take my camera out and zoom in where the blue line is. :) I usually do not click my camera since my lens can't zoom in as much as my hubby's lens. However, I use my lens to observe the dolphins. One of the things I observed is that sometimes dolphins do break away from the parade and form little groups.
Little Groups of Dolphins
These little groups usually form a darker blue circle in the sea. Not all small dark circle that you'd see in the ocean are that of dolphins, since sometimes, they can be a group of sea birds too. Sometimes, it is a mix of sea birds and dolphins. Sometimes, these dolphins would ride the waves. As they go surfing, they come closer to the shore, that's when I can take closer picture of them. :)
Surfing Dolphins
The best time to catch jumping dolphins is to follow them as you see them surfing the waves. The surfing dolphins in the above picture are now jumping in the picture below.
Jumping Dolphins 
I always saw dolphins jumping before, but always too late to capture their jump in my camera. However, after observing them surf and jump, I finally found out I would have time to catch them jumping as long as I follow them as they surf. Here is another set of pictures I had from last weekend following the dolphins surf the wave, and then, when the wave would almost crash at the shore, they would jump to break away from the crashing wave.
Surfing Dolphin
Surfing Dolphin Now Making a Turn ( like in boogie boarding, we had to turn this way to ride the waves longer - so we learned it from the dolphins, hehe)
Surfing Dolphin Now Breaking Away From the Wave
It really is so fun watching these playful creatures in the wild, and for free, since we do not have to see them in Sea World, or we don't have to take the whale watching cruise from San Diego Bay. Oftentimes, we were asked where is a good spot in San Diego for watching dolphins, basing from our experience, we always see them from Torrey Pines - Del Mar. However, for those who prefer to just relax and not do hiking to see dolphins, can just go straight ahead at Torrey Pines Gliderport. Most other bluffs would need some hiking to get to.
View from Torrey Pines Gliderport
Actually, after a hike at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, we would always stop by here at Gliderport to relax, watch paragliders, pelicans, sea gulls and hawks on air, and watch for dolphins ( and if we see fluke prints, whales) in water.
How many dolphins can you see? When you see a dark blue line out there in the ocean, take a closer look, it most likely be caused by dolphins in parade if there is no boat to create such blue prints behind. 
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  1. Wow! This is delightful! Fun to watch the sea creatures in the wild un-caged and observe their patterns and traits. Your surfing and jumping dolphin pictures are stunningly perfect and accurate! Love their identification ways too, there is so much information to learn in there. Enjoyed it all, betchai :)

  2. These are awesome photos! my kids were wowed by the surfing dolphins. have a great day!

  3. That would be so fascinating to watch dolphins with your naked eyes. Never experienced that yet.

  4. I know it. I know it.

    I know they are dolphins that are in your post.

  5. Oh my, these pictures are very beautiful! How come we missed to visit this place while vacationing in San Diego? I may not surf but looking at those playful and beautiful dolphins is an experience of a lifetime.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures. I am now more close to Mother Nature :)

  6. simply breathtaking images!!! lucky makes me happy watching them:-)))

  7. I just wish I could see that dark blue line here :) Loved reading on and watching the dolphin surfing! and yes, all the blue here is making me wild with joy :) smiling while reading the part where Khai could see the dark line first because of his eyeglasses :D Happy weekend dear friend? Where to this time? take care always...

  8. Beeeeeeeeeeeth!!! i hope one sweet day, zen and I will be able to spot dolphins with you right there in SD! my heart literally beats so fast whenever i come visit you here. you constantly nurture the nature seeker in me. love yah!

  9. haha! i think we were commenting on each other's blog at the same time. your comment at SM came in just when i hit the publish button on my comment here. :D

  10. Awesome shots. I loved watching the playful nature of the dolphins; no wonder they are so good at providing us with therapy.

  11. Wish someday I can see for myself those dolphins. But I like how your hubby can spot doplhins. Bakit kapag may trace ba or presence ng boat or jet ski, nahihiyang magpakita ng mga dolphins, ang choosy naman nila. ha..ha..ha..

  12. Dolphins have such a playful personality as you so wonderfully captured in these photos. Fantastic shots, Betchai.

  13. wow, very interesting time i saw like that i will remember what i have learned from you by reading your post. :) thanks for sharing and your pictures, awesome as always. naka-ilan akyat baba ako tignan iyong mga pictures. must be really lovely to see those dolphins having fun of their life, i hope our family can watch dolphins in the sea someday.:)

  14. Wow! How delightful to see them, though I have not experienced this spectacle! Hope to visit you someday.

  15. What an amazing photos of dolphins. How I wish I had the same opportunity as you Ate Betchai.

    Thank you very much for sharing :)

  16. Wow, ang ganda!! Nakakita talaga kayo ng dolphins in their very own habitat, for free! Ang galing naman! We didn't get to experience that when we went there because we didn't stay long.. Nakakita lang ako ng dolphins sa Sea World na.. They are indeeed fascinating, and you can never NOT fall in love with these amazing creatures.. =) Gusto ko na nga iuwi si Shamu eh, kung pwede lang.. Hehehe