You won't always see dolphins in the Inlet, but on the weekend of 19 and 20 November 2011, residents and visitors were treated to an unusual display. A group of dolphins frolicked at the entrance to the Inlet for the entire weekend. The Paremata bridge was lined with people enjoying the spectacle. Some waded in to see if the dolphins were willing to have humans join their group. Maybe some enterprising swimmer had it in mind to boost Porirua tourism ratings by setting up a local 'Swim with Dolphins' operation. The dolphins weren't too sure though, and kept their distance. Kayakers too took to the water to try to get a better view.
Cameras, including our own, clicked madly. Wildlife photographer Donald Laing was also there, and generously offered us some of his photos.
|First there were two...||...and then there were three.|
Children enjoyed counting the dolphins. Clare Layfield held son Zac (3) up for a better view and he undertook a very competent bit of finger-counting. Friends had told Clare of the dolphins' visit, so they popped down from Camborne to get a better view. They finally spotted five dolphins.
Connie (5) and Olive (3 - 'and a half') McLauchlan came along with Dad Sean. The Plimmerton family were thrilled to get so close to dolphins, which they'd never seen before. Sean often walks and cycles along the Camborne walkway, and loves the Inlet, but this was an extra special treat. Connie and Olive did a mighty job of showing how big the dolphins were.
There are thirteen species of dolphins in New Zealand's coastal waters, although some, like the orca, are so big that we think of them as whales. Once upon a time you could find the endangered Maui's dolphin, a recognised sub-species of Hector's dolphin, in this area, but not now. These days Maui's dolphin doesn't stray from its own backyard - the waters between New Plymouth and Dargaville on the west coast of the North Island. There's only a tiny population left - in fact in 2004 scientists estimated there were only 111 Maui's dolphins left.
The dolphins that come and play in our area are usually either the dusky dolphin or the common dolphin.