The dolphins of Dashwood Bay

One of the truly magical things about sailing is encountering dolphins. As with most things in life though, there are rules to follow. For example, in South Australia boats are not permitted to approach within 100 metres of a dolphin. YMMV.

That being said, it is not an offence if dolphins approach you. If you are underway and dolphins approach your vessel, you should maintain a steady speed and course. Sailing between the mainland and Kangaroo Island, i.e., crossing Backstairs Passage, it is virtually impossible not to be approached by dolphins (such as the chap in the photo above.)  Similarly, if you are stationary and they approach your vessel, you should remain stationary - not weigh anchor and chase them!

Now I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Dashwood Bay on Kangaroo Island, which is one bay west of Smith Bay, is THE place to spot dolphins.

As you can see from the above photo, Dashwood Bay (35°35.35'S 137°23.14'E) is rather nondescript, but it is blessed with a sandy bottom and offers shelter from southerly winds. Drop anchor over sand in the middle of the bay, slip into the water and wait for them to come to you.

Here's some footage to prove it (courtesy of Trek Hopton).

Please don't spoil it for others though. Just drop anchor and wait. Dolphins are naturally curious and more than likely they will come over to you.


PS Dolphins are wild animals. Please respect them, which means not touching them.