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Dolphins are spotted all though the Bay of Island quite regularly
Often pods of dolphins with there young come right in to the Ti Bay, Waitangi,s Paihia and Russell. They play in the wave formed by the ferries or just come cruising in checking out the bay for food. It's a beautiful site we as locals never tire off and never take for granted. It is especially amazing when you are sitting one of the bars or restaurants, with the sun going down and you see the gorgeous mammals springing out of the water.
There are a number of special trips in which the local operators have licenses to cruise with the dolphin pods, according to strict rules of behaviour so as not to cause distress or harm. There are some "swim with the dolphins" options, but this does depend on conditions and whether or not the pod has young in amongst it.
What you might not know about dolphins
- Thirteen different species of dolphin are found around the New Zealand coast
- The Mäori word for bottlenose dolphin is Terehu
- The dolphins we encounter most are the Bottlenose Dolphins
- Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) have a relatively short beak and a high, hooked and prominent dorsal fin
- Colour is dark or light grey on the back grading to white on the undersides. Colour and shape can be variable however.
- Newborn: length 85cm – 1.3m
- Adult: length 1.9 – 3.9m
- Around 450 individual Dolphins live in the Bay of Islands area, ranging from Doubtless Bay in Northland to Tauranga
- Individuals living close to the shore feed primarily on a variety of inshore bottom-dwelling fish and invertebrate species
- Females usually reach sexual maturity at 5-13 years with males not maturing until 9-14 years of age
- Females breed every 3-5 years and calves suckle for around 2-3 years. Calving peaks are known to occur for most populations between spring and summer/autumn.
- Female bottlenose dolphins can live up to more than 50 years of age, and males can reach as old as 40-45 years
- Population sizes are largely unknown but this species is relatively common worldwide
- Average Pod size is 12-18 animals
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