I had a pleasant afternoon photographing the Sandpatches dolphins. The afternoon sun backlights the waves beautifully. Afterwards I called into Pt Picquet and saw a blue whale go past. All in all a great way to spend a Tuesday afternoon.
The dolphins have been away from their home base at Sandpatches for a few days, but today they were back. The surf was ideal and I spent a very enjoyable couple of hours photographing them. There were a lot of tourists watching.
I frequently go out to Sugarloaf Rocks and check to see if the dolphins in the bay north of Sugarloaf (called Sandpatches) are there.
It seems to be a pod that are resident in that bay, and they love to surf. When there are reasonable sized waves (2m) often you will see the whole pod surfing. They ride the wave in close to the shore break, then do a tumble turn and leap out of the back of the wave. Today was typical.
Here are some photos of the dolphins playing in the surf.
The dolphins leap out of the back of the wave at the end of a surfing manoevre. While surfing they suddenly dive and come back under their previous track. Then they come up. I think the wave motion helps lift them out of the air.
Well nearly. I went out to Sandpatches again yesterday and my favourite dolphin pod was there playing in the surf, leaping out of the water, and what appears to be hunting fish.
At one stage I thought a dolphin had caught a fish and had it in its mouth, shaking it. However when I photographed the dolphin it turned out to be a piece of seaweed. The dolphin (or maybe more than one was involved – very hard to tell) was catching it, throwing it up in the air, and chasing after it. They seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Here are some images.
The dolphin(s) was obviously playing some game with the seaweed. Very curious!
I went out to Sandpatches today. My favourite pod of dolphins were busy chasing salmon. I first saw them close in, but when I went down to the rocks to photograph them they moved north, so I was photographing these at around 2km distance. Today they were very active, with as many as 6-7 leaping out of each wave. There were some complete loop the loops as well! Wonderful stuff.
The conditions were great for photography. After a rain shower, the sun appeared in the distance and provided some great light.
Notice the fisherman on the rocks in the background!