Embarking from Bell's Landing in Savannah, a small group of us set out to explore the captivating world of bottle-nose dolphins. With a knowledgeable skipper, his wife (also a talented photograOspreypher), and a couple of companions from Hilton Head, our voyage promised a day filled with exciting encounters and valuable insights.

As we ventured into the estuaries, our eyes scanned the waters in anticipation of spotting these majestic creatures. Although the dolphins initially eluded us, our perseverance paid off when we chanced upon a remarkable sight—an osprey perched atop a towering nest, gracefully overlooking the surrounding waters. The size of the nest emphasized the osprey's prowess as a master builder.  

After a delightful break and a satisfying lunch at a nearby marina, our skilled skipper decided to guide us to the mesmerizing Vernon River. Little did we know that this decision would unlock a treasure trove of dolphin encounters. Immediately, pods of dolphins emerged, gracefully swimming in pairs, meandering about, and exhibiting a remarkable sense of direction.

DolphinOur excitement soared as we observed the dolphins engage in a variety of behaviors, each more captivating than the last. One particularly acrobatic individual leaped out of the water, seemingly defying gravity. Another pair displayed an enchanting, frisky dance, thrashing about in a display of affection. We also witnessed the dolphins utilizing their tail-whacking technique, a remarkable hunting strategy employed to stun smaller fish.

Throughout our adventure,  documentation was carried out to ensure a comprehensive understanding of these remarkable creatures. Every behavior we observed was carefully noted and captured through the lens of our talented photographer. In addition to behavioral observations, we recorded vital data such as water temperature, longitude/latitude coordinates, and population counts. Our records indicated an approximate count of 20-25 adult dolphins, with a few juveniles present. We also made notes of any sick dolphins and reported instances of people feeding them, as it is illegal and can negatively impact their natural behaviors.

As the day unfolded, it became abundantly clear that we were not only having fun but also acquiring a wealth of knowledge about bottle-nose dolphins. The thrill of witnessing their enchanting behaviors and capturing them through the lens allowed us to forge a deeper connection with these remarkable creatures. Moreover, we became acutely aware of the importance of safeguarding their natural habitats and respecting the laws in place to preserve their well-being.Observation form

Exploring the estuaries of Savannah and the enchanting world of bottle-nose dolphins was an experience I will cherish forever.  The sights and behaviors I witnessed, coupled with the valuable scientific data we collected, left me with a profound appreciation for these magnificent creatures. I am looking forward to the next excursion!

Contributed by Colleen Post

Posted by Christina Galbreath-Gonzalez on
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