The Best Way to Watch Dolphins in Cornwall
Throughout the year, but more often in the warmer months, dolphins are regularly spotted off the coast of north Cornwall, particularly around the Padstow and Port Isaac areas. The very best way to see them is on a Wavehunters boat trip from Rock or Padstow. Jump aboard one of our two, 12 seater, powerboats for an exhilarating marine safari exploring the camel estuary and out into the Atlantic ocean looking out for dolphins, as well as a host of other wildlife, on the way. This awesome boat trip will take in Daymer Bay, Polzeath beach, The Rumps, Pentire Head, the tranquil fishing village of Port Isaac and Puffin Island, all of which are good areas to see dolphins.
Our knowledgeable and friendly staff are very well acquainted with the waters and will take you to the very best places in order to give you a good chance of spotting dolphins. Keep your eyes peeled and hopefully you will get a sighting of dolphins, which travel in 'pods', breaching or perhaps thrashing their tails as they feed. If you're lucky you may even see dolphins bow riding. This is where dolphins surf in the wave created by boats. They will often twist, turn and swim upside down as they glide through the water. Dolphins are incredibly sociable and inquisitive animals and will often come close to the boats to investigate, giving you a chance to watch them up close or get a photo or two.
Species of Dolphin That Can be Found Around the North Cornish Coast
The most frequent species of dolphin spotted on our boat trips are the common dolphin and the bottlenose dolphin. The common dolphin has yellow and grey markings in an hourglass pattern on their side. The bottlenose dolphin is dark grey with paler lower sides and belly. We also regularly spot harbour porpoise on our sea safaris too. Much rarer are Risso's dolphins that start off a grey colour but over their lifetime get covered in scars and so take on a white appearance.
Dolphins have many traits that are very similar to humans. They are very sociable creatures, highly intelligent, joyful and playful. They form social groups called pods and the dolphins within a pod protect each other from predators such as sharks, they also hunt together and play together. Occasionally pods gather together to form super-pods that can have hundreds or even thousands of dolphins.
Across the world there are currently 49 dolphin and porpoise species although unfortunately some of these are now endangered. Porpoises are often mistaken for dolphins but there are a few differences to look out for. Porpoises are not as long as dolphins but are usually chunkier and have a small head with little or no beak. Their dorsal fin is also small and triangular.
Every year sadly around 1,000 dolphins wash up on British and French beaches after becoming tangled in fishing equipment.
Other wildlife to spot on a sea safari from Padstow.
Image of Puffins by Adrian Langdon
Depending on the time of year you take a Wavehunters sea safari you might be lucky enough to see Basking Sharks, Seals, Dolphins, Porpoises, Puffins, Gannets and many other varieties of seabirds.
Wavehunters' boat trips are guided in a safe and responsible manner by fully qualified skippers, many of whom (including Andy the owner) are RNLI crew.
Our 1 or 2 hour sea safari boat trips departing from Padstow or Rock offer the best chance at spotting dolphins. We also offer a shuttle service to Port Isaac.
Our boat trips are very popular so it's always best to book in advance.