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Humpback whale underwater

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Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

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Boto © Fernando Trujillo

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Orcas at the seabed

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Risso’s dolphins spotted off Bardsey Island in the UK

Imagine kayaking across a flat calm, almost mirror like ocean, on a balmy sunny day, only to have your path crossed by a small pod of Risso’s dolphins!

Well, this is exactly what happened to Justine Curgenven as she paddled from Morfa Nefyn on the Lleyn Peninsula in North Wales, to Bardsey Island. Not long after she had set out a number of Risso’s dolphins, including a juvenile, crossed in front, and underneath, her kayak!

Julie said of her encounter “Setting off from Morfa Nefyn at a good pace on a flat blue sea, I vaguely noticed a wave gently breaking to one side of me — until something made me look closer. I noticed a gigantic fin protrude from the water – followed by another one, and then a third. It was a pod of at least 5 Risso’s dolphins – the first ones I’ve seen. They came quite close and took a good look at me”.

She also managed to catch this amazing footage of the Risso’s dolphins as they passed by.

Take a look at Julie’s blog on her website to read all about her encounter.

Risso’s dolphins are in some ways an unusual species that has not been well studied, mainly due to their preference for deep, oceanic waters but research is now underway, including the research that WDC has been undertaking in the waters around Bardsey Island for 13 years, from both the Island itself and the Lleyn Peninsula.

The on-going study has yielded sightings of large groups of Risso’s dolphins off the north end of the island and sightings, especially of mother/calf nursery groups, indicate the potential importance of the area for this species, however gaps still remain in our understanding of their distribution, abundance and habitat use. Read all about the research conducted around Bardsey Island.

About Vicki James

Policy officer - Stop Whaling