You might associate dolphin watching with the vast expanses of the Atlantic Ocean, or the tropical South China Sea. But did you know that you can see these marvellous creatures in their natural habitat in the UK? Cardigan Bay dolphin trips offer the opportunity to get up close to one of the planet’s most treasured species, and in this article, we will furnish you with the ‘need to knows’.
Cardigan Bay is situated near New Quay, Wales, on the Irish Sea, stretching across the counties of Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Gwynedd. It is home to a pod of bottlenose dolphins, which live in a natural habitat that is protected from industrial development. This area – between Aberporth to the north, and Cardigan Island to the south – is the UK’s hotspot for dolphin watching. Here you can see these unique animals playing and socialising on a daily basis, especially during the summer. The best way to appreciate the spectacle of the bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay is to take a boat trip.
Growing up to 4m in length, and weighing as much as 400kg, bottlenose dolphins are an impressive sight. They can reach a speed of 40kph but typically cruise at a speed of around 10kph. Known for their social nature, bottlenose dolphins travel and hunt together, devising traps so that they can feed off fish, shrimps and squid.
A nursery group consisting of mothers and their calves can number from five to around 20 dolphins, but sometimes the males will make up much larger groups – of over 1,000 dolphins in some areas. Bottlenose dolphins learn ways to catch food from each other, protect each other, and even forge friendships that can last for years.
Cardigan Bay boat trips are famous for the bottleneck dolphins, but there are several other attractions to look forward to. Harbour porpoises – known as a smaller relation of the dolphin – can also be spotted around the Welsh coast, and your guide can tell you how to distinguish between the two sea mammals. If it’s your lucky day, you might also spot a humpback whale or orca swimming by! Then there’s the seals and seabirds…
If you want to boost your chances of seeing dolphins during your Cardigan Bay boat trip, we recommend going during the English summer – from June to September. Not only is there the opportunity to see the pod of bottlenose dolphins that live in the area, but the population could be swelled by travelling pods.
Arranging dolphin watching in Cardigan Bay is simple with SeaMor. Book a 1-hour Cardigan Bay dolphin trip and get closer to the action thanks to our unrestricted views! You can also choose our half-day charter boat trips or enjoy the sunset from a boat with our special evening outings.
Dolphin watching can be an exhilarating, magical, and even spiritual experience; bringing you closer to an amazing, yet often misunderstood animal.