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Playful Dolphins, Aquatic Wonder in the Golden Isles

Dolphins under water

A Golden Isles tour is likely to feature dolphin watching somewhere along the way.  Find out how special these creatures truly are by knowing something about them in advance of your trip.

 

First off, one of the biggest misconceptions about Dolphins is that they are fish.
They are actually mammals, and need to come to the water's surface regularly to breathe air, just like other land animals. They are capable of diving up to 260 meters deep for up to 15 minutes long, but rarely stay underwater longer than a few minutes.





Remarkably, dophins, along with whales and porpoises, are descendants of ancient terrestrial mammals.
Paleontologists believe that they became aquatic about 50 million years ago.
 
Perfectly designed for life in the water, they are able to chase prey (mostly fish) at high speeds.  Typically a soft gray color, their characteristic understated markings vary with each species. They possess a unique organ used for echolocation (navigating by emitting ultrasonic clicking sounds that bounce off objects).

One of the best known dolphins is the Bottlenose, with its upturned mouth that looks like a perpetual smile. Dolphins are widely believed to be among the most intelligent of all animals; it's not surprising to scientists that  their brains are exceptionally large.
 
Dolphins appear in a number of Greek myths and were believed to be sent from the gods to benefit humankind. They were of great significance to the Minoan people, as seen in artistic depictions in the palace at Knossos. Another example is evidenced in a temple to Poseidon and a statue of Arion riding the dolphin. Ancient Mediterranean seals and coins depict a man or boy riding a dolphin.
 
Dolphins are quite social, establishing strong bonds with one another.  Occasionally, as many as 1000 dolphins are spotted together.  Stories of dolphins' close approach to humans, playfully interacting with them in the water, are numerous. In Ancient Greece, if a  ship's crew saw dolphins riding in their wake, it was considered a good omen. There are also reports of dolphins protecting human swimmers from sharks by encircling them.
 
There are many opportunities to see dolphins where they abound in the marshes and tidal rivers along the coast.  Enjoy these fascinating animals close up at play in their natural habitat as you explore by boat or kayak.  Tours led by experienced guides are recommended. Find out more about the Golden Isles tours available by visiting our Golden Isles Directory.




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