Southern Dolphins pay a rare visit…

June 24, 2011

Check out this great article in the Times Colonist! We haven’t seen the dolphins at Prince of Whales, but Anna Hall is one of our outstanding captains/Marine Biologists and is frequently quoted in local news.

Two dolphins that would be more at home frolicking in the warm bays of southern California or Mexico are cruising the chilly waters of Puget Sound and biologists are baffled by an apparent trend for tropical species to head north.

Reports of strange whistles started coming in to the Orca Network in late May followed by sightings of unidentified cetaceans reported to the Cascadia Research Collective, an Olympia marine mammal research group.

On June 4, the strangers were confirmed by Cascadia biologist Annie Douglas as long-beaked common dolphins, a species that has never previously been seen in Puget Sound.

“The first photos were of a juvenile animal and the one we are seeing now is an older animal, maybe subadult,” she said.

Victoria zoologist Anna Hall, who also skippers a boat for Prince of Whales whale watching, said the only previously recorded sighting in local waters was in April 1953 when a longbeaked common dolphin stranded itself off Victoria.

“It’s really, really unusual,” she said.

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