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DOLPHINS & WHALE SHARKS

   For many years 'Baracuda Diving Team' and their guests have enjoyed encounters both above and below the Indian Ocean with Bottle Nosed Dolphin, Turtles and Whale Sharks.

A few years ago we designed a Dolphin & Whale Shark Spotting tour for divers and non-divers alike, to see these amazing creatures in their natural environment. The trip is available from October - March, and is fully escorted by members of Baracuda Diving Team's, Diving Guides.

The trip includes an hour snorkeling at 'Robinson Island' on Diani Beach.Full equipment is also included.

Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish in the sea, averaging around 10M in length and weighting up to 20 tons. The shape of the whale shark is very distinctive, unlike most other sharks, it has a mouth on the under side of its broad head. On its body there is a pattern of light spots and stripes set on a dark back ground, graduating to a light colour on its under belly. It has 2 dorsal fins, the front being much larger than the rear. The teeth are very small, about 6mm long and have about 3,000 rows in each jaw, but are not used for feeding. Little is know about how long they live, but it is thought that whale sharks may live to be up to 150 years. Whale sharks are filter feeders, cruising at around 2-3 knots, they filter thousands of gallons of water, extracting plankton. Plankton is a microscopic organism that floats freely with the ocean currents, and is made up of tiny plants (phytoplankton) and tiny animals (zoo plankton).It is believed that whale sharks become sexually mature at about 25-30 years, or 8-9M in length. In 1995 an 11M female was harpooned off the eastern coast of Taiwan, and 300 fetal specimens, ranging in length from 42 to 63cm, were taken from her 2 uteri.This discovery proved that the species is a 'live bearer'.

The Bottle nosed dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), is a relatively robust dolphin, with a short stubby beak. It has a more flexible neck, as 5 of the 7 neck vertebrae are not fused together. Generally light to slate gray on the upper part of the body, shading to lighter sides and pale, pinkish gray on the belly. 18 to 26 pairs or sharp, conical teeth line each side of the jaw. The dorsal fin is high and curved and located near the middle of the back. An adult length can be from 2.5M-3.8M and may weight as much as 650kg. Feeding involves primarily, individual prey capture, but sometimes involves coordinated efforts of many dolphin in a highly complex plan.An adult dolphin may consume 8-15kg each day, consisting of fish, squid, and crustaceans. Males reach sexual maturity at about 10 years. Females between 6-10 years. The gestation period is 12 months, but calving may take place year round. Calves nurse for up to 18 months, staying with their mother for 3-6 years, learning how to catch fish and other important tasks.