Wonder & Awe dolphins in Victoria

Port Phillip Bay Dolphin wild encounter

It was one of those ‘glassy’ autumn days on Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay.

Perfect for the boat.

But things quickly ramped up.

Emerald (12) and Keaton (10) were over the moon (so was their mum!) as a pod of up to ten dolphins decided to say hi.

Just minutes before skipper (dad Erin) was first to spot them, he stopped to respect their space and to give us a better view.

We thought the show was over.

Bearing away at around 5 knots, our bow wave produced irresistible bubbles for the playful pod.


For fifteen minutes, the four of us were captivated.

This wasn’t a tourist company organised event, it wasn’t sunny Queensland or New South Wales.

It was our Victorian play ground and it was brilliant.

Dolphin Research.org.au is a community of scientists, students, volunteers and donors who are fighting for a healthy future for Victoria’s stunning marine life.

Coastal pollution and climate change are their main concerns and they run a comprehensive education platform.

You can adopt-a-dolphin and support their impactful work.

Researchers say there are two species of dolphin that call our Bay home: common (Delphinus delphis) and bottlenose (tursiops truncatus) dolphins.

They first sighted common dolphins in Port Phillip in 2005, along the Mornington coastline, when there were only a handful. Now they have a catalogue of approx 85 dolphins.

Scientists say our dolphins are special due to being the only recorded population living in a shallow, urbanised embayment.

Current monitoring suggests 20-30 permanently reside in the Bay and many more travel in and out from Bass Strait.

The Bottlenose is larger, up to 3.8 metres long, usually around 2.7 metres in the bay. Their dorsal fins are grey and mostly curved. 100 – 120 resident bottlenose dolphins call Port Phillip Bay home and there is a small number (3-5) In Western Port Bay.

Dolphin researchers say if you are lucky enough to swim with dolphins it is most like with bottlenose dolphins.

Head over here: www.dolphinresearch.org.au/ to Adopt a Dolphin or volunteer.

Please note, under Victorian law, boats must stay more than 100 metres away from dolphins, jet skis are forbidden from getting any closer than 300 metres.


Martine Harte Engaging Women




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