When you begin to explore the pristine waters of the Kimberley, you’ll quickly become acquainted with the local wildlife, from the resident crocodiles to the majestic humpback whale. Once of the most unique looking creatures you might come across is the Snubfin Dolphin which thrives in the northern waters of the Kimberley. Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at these incredible animals.
A unique creature
Amazingly, the Snubfin Dolphin is the first new dolphin species to be discovered in 56 years. Initially thought to be the Irrawaddy Dolphin, it was later discovered that the Snubfin Dolphin was its own species after DNA testing and skull measurements were carried out. This beautiful looking dolphin has a distinctive, round forehead with no beak, a small dorsal fin (thus the name!) and broad flippers. The body of the Snubfin Dolphin is tricoloured, with a brown colour on top, lighter colour at the sides and then white on the belly.
The Snubfin Dolphin is found in the northern coastal waters of Australia, from the Kimberley all the way around to the waters of Queensland. They tend to stay in shallower waters of 20 metres or less and feed on fish, squid and crustaceans. These dolphins use a unique technique to catch fish, known as ‘spitting’, where they work together to herd fish by spitting water at them. Snubfin Dolphins generally come up for air after relatively short dives every 30 to 60 seconds, although can stay underwater for up to 12 minutes when disturbed.
Snubfin Dolphins tend to stay in groups of around five individuals, although some groups are as large as 15. Given their shy nature, unpredictable surfacing patterns and the fact that little of their body surfaces when they come up for air, they can be difficult to detect in the water. Adults average two metres in length, with some males reaching a maximum of 2.7 metres.
Snubfin Dolphins in Roebuck Bay
If you’re keen to spot a Snubfin Dolphin in the Kimberley, then head to Roebuck Bay in the Kimberley. Roebuck Bay was declared a marine park in 2015 and is home to an incredible array of sea life including turtles, manta rays, dugongs, and a population of over 160 Snubfin Dolphins. Given the threats faced by these dolphins from factors such as habitat degradation, overfishing and bycatch, Roebuck Bay offers a welcome sanctuary to these beautiful creatures.
A Kimberley cruise is the perfect way to meet the local wildlife and you’ll be able to explore in luxury with Ocean Dream Charters. Relax aboard our 80-foot twin-hull catamaran as we show you the beauty of the region for a holiday you’ll never forget. For your Kimberley cruising adventure, join one of our scheduled cruises or book a private charters for a personalised experience.
If you’re ready to cruise the Kimberley, contact Ocean Dream Charters today on 1300 944 727.