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The Wonderful Dolphins and Oban

Would it surprise you to know that most people do not associate Scotland with dolphins? It’s true. Thanks to the images we normally see in films and on television, dolphins are most often associated with warm, tropical environments around the equator. However, it turns out there are dolphins around Scotland. You just need to know where to look. And one of the best ways to look is by taking one of the many Oban boat trips offered by Clyde Cruises during the summer months.

Rainbow over Oban

Given that it is now mid-autumn, it’s getting harder and harder to spot dolphins in the bay. However, we decided to write about the dolphins now in order to get you to start thinking about booking a cruise for next spring or summer. Cruising on a warm and sunny day is a great way to enjoy the abundant marine life in this part of Scotland, surrounded by majestic mountains and rugged coastline.

What You Might See

Oban boat trips featuring dolphin sightings usually occur during the late spring and summer months. That’s because the dolphins congregate in the Firth of Lorn from where they can easily feed without having to worry about predators. As the waters turns colder the smaller fish dolphins feed on tend to search for warmer waters; the dolphins follow.

During the height of the season, it is not uncommon to see dolphins jumping out of the water. Why do they do this? Scientists believe there are a number of reasons, including efficiency. In other words, there is quite a bit of friction as dolphins swim through the water. By jumping out of the water, they are able to swim greater distances with less effort. Scientists say they may also jump as a means of communicating with one another.

We tend to romanticise these animals, believing their jumping is all about play. Indeed, sometimes it is. Where wild cats or monkeys may wrestle as a form of play, dolphins will swim, chase, and leap out of the water just because it’s fun. Witnessing this sort of activity is that which makes dolphin watching so enjoyable.

Social Creatures

There is little doubt that dolphins are incredibly social creatures. We know this because they tend to live in groups of 10 or 12 to a pod. Members of a pod are very loyal to one another as well, sharing food sources and being highly protective of each member. Occasionally, pods will merge to form what is known as a super pod.

Dolphins next to boat, Oban

Imagine three or four pods of 10 to 12 dolphins each merging to form one big group. When they do this, it is for feeding purposes. Some members of the super pod will pursue a school of fish intended as prey, causing them to flee toward the larger portion of the pod waiting at some distance. By the time the prey realise what’s happening, it is too late. The dolphins are able to feed on a large collection of fish all gathered in a single location.

Most dolphins in a pod will remain with the pod for their entire lives, establishing strong social bonds with the other members. However, this is not necessary. There are times when dolphins switch from one pod to the next if it is beneficial to the social structure. Because of the social order, experienced dolphin watchers are capable of tracking specific animals as they come in and out of the Firth every year.

Hours of Enjoyment

If you are the kind of person who enjoys a wonderful selection of wildlife in Scotland, we hope you will consider a cruise with Clyde Cruises next spring and summer. Each of our cruises lasts between 2.5 and five hours, depending on itinerary and weather conditions. There is no better way to spend a glorious spring or summer day than out on the water watching for dolphins.

Even if the dolphins are not around that day, you may see a whale, turtle, or something else equally spectacular. In fact, there is no telling what you’ll see in the Firth of Lorn. Our Oban boat trips are always a new adventure every time we put out to sea. You could take four cruises during the summer and see something new every time.

By this time, the dolphins of Oban have moved off to warmer waters to south. As we anticipate the coming of the Christmas period, we also look forward to getting back on the water next year. Right now, we are hard at work preparing for the 2015 season, getting our boats ready and planning some exciting trips.

Clyde Cruises’ Oban boat trips are suitable for all ages. Book your trip now and present it to a loved one as a Christmas gift. It is something you and your loved one will look forward to all winter long.

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