Dolphin Spirit – Scotland
We are excited to have ‘Dolphin Spirit’ blog with us today and I am pretty sure after reading this you will be getting a date in the diary for next Spring!
“If one was to invent a creature that would appeal to the human aesthetic… we are most unlikely to conjure up an animal that lives in the sea, breathes through a hole in the top of its head and whose arms and legs have evolved into fins and flippers.” – Simon King, OBE (an excerpt from “On a Rising Tide” by Charlie Phillips).
Despite this intriguing biological make-up, dolphins are considered some of the most lovable animals in the world. Is it their intelligence? Is it their seemingly always-smiling faces? Is it their wistful, playful, and carefree nature? Whatever the reasons may be, there is an enrapturing magic to these wonderful creatures, and here on our boat, it’s a magic we aim to share with each and every one of our passengers. It’s a magic we like to call the Dolphin Spirit.
We sail from Inverness Marina 4 times a day (10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm), every day between April and October (Scottish weather permitting of course). The course we follow tracks a series of tidal channels which are a natural hunting ground for otters, seals, porpoise, and dolphins. Not only are our eyes on the water, but in the sky as well, where we may find various seabirds such as cormorants, terns, and gannets, as well as the occasional red kite or osprey, which are a real treat. Our eager and enthusiastic guides offer stories of history and folklore, as well as facts about the local area and resident population of bottlenose dolphins. Should we encounter the dolphins in the 1 hour, 20 minute trip, we also adhere to a voluntary code of conduct called the Dolphin Space Programme, which is designed to minimize stress for the dolphins during our interactions with them. Under the right weather conditions, our skippers also provide an altogether different kind of experience for our younger passengers, by allowing them the chance to drive the boat under their careful guidance!
The Dolphin Spirit vessel is fully wheelchair accessible and disabled friendly. There is enough room for over 90 passengers on board, but for comfort we limit ourselves to 65 at a time. The boat has a variety of options when it comes to seating arrangements; one can choose to sit inside the heated cabin, on the sheltered lower deck, or brave the open upper deck. The boat is incredibly stable in all kinds of conditions, and a relatively slow cruising speed makes for a gentle and comfortable ride throughout the trip. Inside the cabin are a variety of toys for infants, as well as activity sheets for older children to keep them entertained and engaged in the trip. As we aim to make our trips as family friendly as possible, we also allow well-behaved dogs to come aboard and enjoy the experience too! We provide safety information and facts about the landmarks on our trip in a variety of language sheets including French and German, to help cater the experience to as many visiting nationalities as possible.
The waters in the north of Scotland are home to around 200 individual bottlenose dolphins, each and every one identifiable by the dorsal fin on their back. In particular, two very special dolphins stick out for us at Dolphin Spirit; our resident mother-and-son pair, Kesslet and Charlie. Kesslet (named after her mother Kess) was born in 1994, and knows the Beauly Firth better than anyone. She has taught her young son all the tricks to hunting and living there as a wild and free dolphin.
Charlie, despite being at the age where he should be off finding a girlfriend, is ever the mama’s boy and is rarely far from Kesslet’s side. Both dolphins have their own unique “friend groups” as well, and occasionally they will bring them down with them too. Charlie is a member of the infamous “Bad Boys Club”, a group of young male dolphins whose boisterous antics are known far and wide here! Kesslet is more often seen with the other mothers like Rainbow and Bonnie, but is not adverse to playing with the youngsters and showing them just how it’s done! Kesslet is now a mother once more to a brand new calf who is estimated to have been born on the 26th of August; both mother and baby are doing well, and we are delighted to watch them grow and learn together.
Why not come aboard and experience our #DolphinSpirit for yourself? Prices start at £18 for an adult (14+) and £12 for a child (4-13). Under 4s go free, and a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) is only £55! If you want to find out more you can visit our website; you can also see videos and pictures from our sailings on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
A special thanks to Krystyna for writing with us and for sharing her beautiful photos. We particularly love the one of Kesslet and her calf Tooty! Make sure you pop over to their website and plan a fun day out for you and the family.