There are two species of dolphin that you could observe or get to swim with on a DSA dolphin swim. Because they live in the open ocean, you can see neither species on the regular ‘dolphin-watch’ tours that operate inside the bay.
The Short-Beaked Common Dolphin
This is the beautifully patterned species we encounter most often. Here is an image of a couple of them surfacing to breathe, and you’ll find many more photos and videos of them in our gallery and on our Facebook page.
Unlike the dolphins inside the bay (Tursiops aduncus), which will often ignore tourist boats, Short-Beaked Common dolphins get very excited to see us and energetically engage with the boat and you, up-close and personally, in the water. Because our beloved D. delphis live only in the open ocean, the only way to see them is as a swimmer or observer with Dolphin Swim Australia.
The Common Bottlenose Dolphin
These dolphins, which we see only rarely, are a larger version of the the species often found in captive shows, called the Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops aduncus). Because T. aduncus live in estuaries and close to beaches, they are also regularly seen by surfers and beachgoers.
T. aduncus is the species that the many ‘dolphin-watching’ tours visit inside Port Stephens, and DSA is not permitted to swim with them.
The Common (Oceanic) Bottlenose, however, lives only at sea, and hence an outing with DSA is the only way to see these ‘big guys’ (see size comparison below).