Dolphin display near Khor Fakkan wows divers

Dozens of dolphins frolic in the wake of a dive boat

Divers going for a morning swim in Khor Fakkan were given a rare treat when a pod of about 40 dolphins surfaced near their boat.

The animals began to leap from the water and surf the wake of the boat carrying several divers out to a popular spot.

The first sighting was on Saturday, April 3. The same group of divers returned the following Friday and were given a special acrobatic display by what is thought to be the same pod.

Romanian freediver Calin Campan was one of those on board who grabbed a camera and begin filming the rare, but beautiful sight.

“This was only the third time I have seen dolphins in the UAE in five years or so,” he said.

“Last July we also saw dolphins as we were nearing a shipwreck off the coast of Dubai.

The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, a species seen off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Courtesy of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute
The Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, a species seen off the coast of Abu Dhabi. Courtesy of the Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute

“We freedive every weekend from the Mirage Bab Al Bahr Hotel and go in the water for half an hour or so. So it was not very far from shore when we saw them last week.

“To see them jumping out of the water was amazing. We couldn’t believe it.

“We didn’t get into the water because we did not want to scare them.”

The UAE Dolphin Project encourages people to report sightings of the marine mammals on its online database so it can check on local populations.

Publicly offered information, backed with photographic support, enables researchers to provide precise and clear information for the scientific community and government.

Although dolphins and whales can be notoriously hard to spot, recorded data on sightings can assess species occurrence and frequency, population size and which areas they prefer to inhabit.

Mr Campan, 39, was a regular diver before the pandemic. He has been diving since restrictions were lifted to allow dive boats back into the water off the UAE coast.

“We have noticed a huge change in marine life, with more turtles, sharks, seahorses and a huge variety of fish,” said Mr Campan, who lives in Dubai and is the general manager for a coffee company.

“It is incredible to see how nature has changed, with coral regenerated due to reduced boat traffic and human interference because of the pandemic.

“Nature usually finds a way to recover and that is heartening to see.”

To report any sightings of dolphins close to the UAE coast visit https://www.uaedolphinproject.org.

Updated: April 16, 2021 11:05 AM

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