April 14th was National Dolphin Day and who wouldn’t want to swim with one?

They’re highly intelligent and social animals, which makes them so attractive to us humans.

Some interesting facts about dolphins:

  • There are 40 existing species of dolphins. Most species live in shallow waters of tropical and temperate oceans. Five species live in rivers.
  • Dolphins live in groups that hunt and even play together. Large pods or schools of dolphins can have 1,000 members or more.
  • Dolphins navigate and find their food using echolocation. This bounces noise off objects and their surroundings to ‘see’ in surround sound.
  • A baby dolphin is born tail-first to prevent drowning. After the mother breaks the umbilical cord by swiftly swimming away, she must immediately return to her baby and take it to the surface to breathe.
  • Dolphins get water from the foods they eat, so they don’t drink. They have the same reaction to drinking salt water as humans do: it would dry them out until they died of dehydration.
  • Among the different species of dolphins, life spans range between 12 and 80 years. Bottlenose dolphins live into their 50s, and orcas can live into their 80s. Typically, the bigger the dolphin, the longer the lifespan.
  • A dolphin spends most of its life holding its breath.
  • Dolphins can swim up to 30 miles (48.3 km) per hour.

Where to dive and swim with them:

1. The Bahamas

The Bahamas are not only famous for their magnificent underwater cave system, but also as a dolphin watching spot. Bimini is the place to see Atlantic spotted dolphins, which gather in the shallow warm water. You can snorkel and freedive with pods of a few dozen or more playful dolphins. Crystal clear water guarantees and amazing close up view on this creatures.



2. Maldives

When it comes to dolphins, Maldives are quite diverse. At any given time of the year, there are 10 to 12 different species of whales and dolphins that call the coral reefs of the Maldives home. In addition to spinner dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, pantropical spotted dolphins, indo-pacific bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins, bottlenose dolphins are quite common. A single school of dolphins can contain more than 200 individuals.

3. Azores Islands, Portugal

During the summer months, from July until August, Atlantic spotted dolphins and striped dolphins can be witnessed during their migration pass through the islands.




4. The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The estimated age of the islands is between 3 and 10 million years. 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Over 400 species of fish have been recognized in the Galapagos, with 41 species unique to the islands. In 1978 Galapagos was designated as the first World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Quite a few species of dolphins, such as bottlenose, common, Risso’s, spinner and spotted dolphins can be found in the waters of this extraordinary place. Fernandina Island is especially popular with spinner dolphins.



5. Samadai Reef, Egypt

Six species of dolphins are known to be resident in the Red Sea: the bottlenose dolphin, Risso's dolphin, indo-pacific bottlenose dolphin, pantropical spotted dolphin, long-beaked common dolphin and spinner dolphin. Marsa Alam has one of the most important dolphin habitats in the Red Sea - Samadai reef, home to a large family of around one hundred spinner dolphins. Diving is banned and there are strict controls on where boats and snorkelers can access.



6. Ningaloo Reef, Australia

Like the Galapagos Islands, the Ningaloo Coast is also a World Heritage Site. The Ningaloo reef is around 260 km long and is one the largest fringing coral reefs in the world. During the winter months, the reef is part of the migratory routes for dolphins, dugongs, manta rays and humpback whales. The majority of the dolphins found in these waters are bottlenose dolphins, however the indo-pacific humpback dolphin and spinner dolphins are also frequent guests.



7. Socorro Island, Mexico

Sometimes nicknamed “The Mexican Galapagos” Socorro Island is one of the world's best dive destinations with some impressive large animals. Here, you can experience the giants of the ocean with manta rays, whale sharks, and humpback whales. During the high season, from January until the end of March, seeing a bottlenose dolphin in a regular occurrence.

For a more isolated location, choose San Benedicto island, where you can swim with friendly bottlenose dolphins.