Have you always wanted to swim with dolphins? Or simply to catch sight of these beautiful creatures as they swim alongside your boat? 

If you’re heading to Croatia on holiday, you’re in luck. Not only is it a relatively common sight, but the friendly creatures often like to play with boats in the area. They swim and jump along before diving underneath and appearing on the other side.

So, let’s find out more about these fascinating animals in Croatia.

Fun Facts About Dolphins:

  • They evolved from a four-legged terrestrial animal that started spending more time in the water around 50 million years ago.
  • There are many types of dolphins, with around 40 different species. The smallest of their kind is 3-4 feet long, while the largest is 30 feet.
  • Dolphins are one of the friendliest, most caring and the most intelligent creatures. When scientist compared the ratio size of the brain to the body, dolphins take the 2nd place right after humans.
  • Scientists proved that dolphins give themselves names. They develop their own individual whistles and they recognize theirs and other dolphins’ names.
  • Dolphins love to play with members of their pods and are even friendly to humans. They often play and tease other animals living underwater.
  • They are known to be great divers who can dive up to 1,000 feet underwater.
  • Many believed dolphins have the longest memory in the animal kingdom.

The best places to see dolphins in Croatia?

The waters of islands Losinj and Cres, and slightly off the Istrian coast are the best-known places. There are numerous dolphin watching boat excursions available from the town of Porec – the perfect addition to your adventures in Istria. In case you opt for some of our Advanced Northern Sailing Adventure, you might end up rewarded with extra experience. There is another great place to spot these fascinating creatures in the Murter aquatorium and the surrounding area where dolphins found their habitat but dolphins can be found all across the Adriatic sea so it comes as no surprise travelers thrill when spotting dolphins on their way to Blue Cave or elsewhere.

Of course, wildlife watching is always a gamble – there is never any guarantee that you will be rewarded with a sighting in return for your patience. However, the above-mentioned are just some of the destinations that regularly deliver on sightings that we would specifically recommend for those who would like to increase their odds at spotting dolphins on their next sailing vacation.

Get out on the waves to meet your favorite finned friends while you’re on holiday. Choose a sail yacht or catamaran of your liking and simply sail away. Enjoy all the beauty Croatia has to offer and do not be surprised by unexpected, yet joyful encounters with these fascinating creatures.

Adopt a Dolphin

If you wish to take part in activities related to the research and protection of dolphins, you can volunteer to take part in the Blue World organization program and even symbolically adopt a dolphin. The Adriatic Dolphin Project is the longest consistent study of bottlenose Dolphins. By participating in the Blue World  Adopt a dolphin campaign you are supporting the Adriatic Dolphin Project, their research, and the ongoing protection of the bottlenose dolphins in their environment around the islands of Lošinj and Cres. Your donation will help the continuation of their work to increase public awareness, and thus further contribute to dolphin conservation.  

How to Behave When You Spot a Dolphin 

Based on the guidelines provided by the Croatian State Institute for Nature Protection (DZZP), the welfare of the whales and dolphins you watch in the wild should always come first. You should behave responsibly and be aware that you are only a guest in their realm. Your correct behaviour is an important contribution to ensure that the dolphins can survive in the Adriatic Sea. Your encounter must never create more stress and harassment to the animals. Be patient and don’t disturb the marine mammals: 

  • Do not chase the dolphins or drive your boat directly towards them; 
  • If you wish to approach the dolphins, do it very slowly, keeping parallel to their course and avoid sudden changes of direction or speed which could confuse or disorient them. It is even better tolet them approach you first. 
  • Maintained the engine in neutral or switch it off; 
  • Do not make sudden noises, especially with the engine as these could alarm the animals; 
  • Ensure that no more than one boat is within 100 meters from the dolphins or three boats within 200 m; 
  • Do not stay with the dolphins for more than 30 minutes; 
  • For your safety and theirs, avoid diving or swimming with them, never offer them food or try to touch them; 
  • Leave the area accelerating gradually when the boat is more than 100 m from the animals; 
  • Do not throw litter overboard or leave it on the beach; dolphins can accidentally swallow plastic bags which may suffocate them and lead to their death

Saving the Dolphins

Nonetheless, there is one characteristic common to all the dolphins: they habitate only in the cleanest seas. That is why Croatia is very proud of its clear blue sea where dolphins are found almost everywhere. Some 220 bottlenose dolphins live in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. The bottlenose dolphin is probably the world’s most well-known dolphin species. They have a robust body and a relatively short beak. Dark on the back and lighter on the belly, their usual size in the Mediterranean is around three meters. Bottlenose dolphins are highly intelligent and very adaptable. This enables them to live in many habitats, including the semi-enclosed channels between the Adriatic islands. 

After the extinction of the Mediterranean monk seal and the common dolphin, bottlenose dolphins are the only marine mammals still living in the Adriatic Sea, according to the German Society for Dolphin Conservation. Planned killings that took place in the second half of the nineteenth century when dolphins were perceived as pests in large part caused a huge reduction in the dolphin population.

Further declines were a direct result of increased pressure from people. Studies have shown that dolphin numbers in the Adriatic Sea have declined by more than fifty percent in the last five decades. Deaths occur from fishing and the accidental trapping of dolphins in nets, loss of habitat quality, water pollution – especially plastics and heavy metals in the water, and rising underwater sound. But there is hope for these fascinating and intelligent animals. 

Sail with Nava and maybe dolphins decide to join you!

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