With a Savannah vacation in your future, you might already be planning your itinerary. The short drive from Savannah to Tybee Island adds one more tour possibility to your plans — a dolphin tour.
If you are intrigued by dolphins, indulge your curiosity and venture into the habitat of the bottlenose dolphin -- the type found in abundance in the waters near Savannah and the most most well-known. Dolphins are found around the world in places as diverse as China, Japan, Australia, and Norway. They are in the Atlantic, Pacific, & Indian Oceans plus the Mediterreanan Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Most importantly to those of us who live in Savannah or vacation here, dolphins are in the warm waters off the coast of the southeastern United States.
Meet the Dolphins in the Habitat
The way you get to know someone — or something — is to spend time together. Dolphin tours for Savannah are all based from Tybee Island, Georgia. This small seaside community is where you’ll find charming little restaurants, miles of beach and a dolphin tour you will never forget.
Nothing contributed to the fascinations many Americans have with dolphins more than the 1960’s television show Flipper. The show ran for 3 seasons and filmed 80+ episodes — more than the original Star Trek series.
Kids and young adults who grew up watching Flipper save the day have had a curiosity about these playful and intelligent creatures for decades. A week-long vacation or even a weekend getaway in Savannah could be the time to finally venture to the ocean to meet this intriguing animal.
An in-person visit to the dolphins takes you to the next level in your fascination. After all, watching them in a weekly TV series or documentary is no substitute for experiencing their company. A visit to aquariums might give you the opportunity to see a live dolphin — but not in their natural habitat.
Not far from the dock at Tybee Island are countless dolphins enjoying life and waiting for you to come out for a visit!
A Unique Sightseeing Tour Unlike Any
A dolphin tour is complimentary to the many types of wonderful Savannah tours you are considering. It's an additional way to see the beauty of the area. Imagine starting your day with a walking tour geared towards the architecture of historic buildings in Savannah's Landmark Historic District. After a break for lunch, you take the drive out to Tybee Island to see a beauty of a different kind while learning about dolphin life spans (up to 50 years) and their diet. Or start your day with the dolphins and end up back in downtown Savannah in the evening for a horse-drawn carriage tour as your guide tell you about life in 18th and 19th century Savannah.
Learning About Dolphins is Fun
Garner more education and learn fun facts about bottlenose dolphins from knowledgeable tour guides in the comfort of a guide boat. You’ll learn how dolphins travel in groups, how they use their built-in sonar (echolocation) to find food and how they communicate — with a series of whistles, clicks and squeaks, pulsed sounds and even body language.
Scientists who’ve studied dolphins have documented the social structure of these sea creatures. Living in groups called pods (ranging from 10 - 30 members on average), dolphins work together to find food. There's even a famous town in Brazil where the dolphins drive the fish into the shallow waters where fisherman toss nets and easily capture them. Now that's teamwork!
Surprises are in store when you start learning about dolphins. One interesting fact most people find hard to believe is that they can’t ever fully go to sleep. Dolphins can stay underwater for up to 15 minutes at a time, but then they must come to the surface for air. Unlike humans, they cannot just go to sleep as they would not be able to resurface if they are unconscious. Scientists believe dolphins can put on half of their brain to sleep at a time allowing them to be partially conscious and return to the surface every few minutes — even when at rest.
Among the many interesting facts about dolphins is they do not have an abundant source of drinkable water. Sure, they live in the ocean and most people assume they drink from the ocean. But just like a human, a dolphin cannot survive by drinking salt water. In a sense — even though they are creatures of the sea — they live the way an animal in the desert would live, with the need to retain as much water as possible. Over the eons, their kidney’s have adapted to store the water they need to live which is obtained from the fish they eat and from their own digestive process as water is released as their bodies burn fat.
Social Structure of Dolphin Groups
Dolphins work together and can even signal each other if more than one is approaching a source of food. Less aggressive dolphins will back off and allow the more dominant one to attain it. They are intelligent mammals who
work together to avoid confrontation and keep harmony among the group (most of the time).
Terms like sonar and echolocation will be mentioned. But the word most people will instantly recognize is blubber. We've all heard that term -- mostly used in a negative connection about a human's weight -- and its critical to the survival of the bottlenose dolphin. The a 96.8 degree body temperature, dolphin blubber keeps the dolphin warm in the much cooler waters and helps keep the body temperature stabilized.
Local Tours Give You a Front Row (Boat) Seat!
Spotting the bottlenose dolphins will be easy. Local tour companies know right where to go to give you an up close look at them. Their appearance is just what you would expect — the dolphins are grey in color and have the familiar dorsal fin that can be spotted when they are swimming just under the surface of the ocean or when they are breaching — the term used to describe a dolphin jumping out of the water.
Seeing a dolphin up close is a wonderful experience. These creatures seem to have smiling faces. If they open their mouths you can’t help but notice lots of teeth. Dolphins have up to two dozen teeth on each side of their mouth. At first you might think they chew their food with all those teeth but actually they love to swallow the fish they consume whole.
The Dolphins are Waiting for You!
Dolphins fascinate people of all ages and the Atlantic Ocean is a playground to these intelligent creatures. They love the warm waters of coastal Georgia and are found in similar climates around the world. But just a short boat ride from the dock at Tybee Island is an intelligent ocean-based animal that's friendly and curious -- just like you. Don't you want to meet the dolphins?