Maldives Dolphin ID Project: 2022-2023

Check out the project page first, for a background of the types of dolphins (and other Cetacean species) sighted in the Maldives, and enjoy our updated diary entries and photos, below.

Dolphin Diary 2022

JANUARY 2022

At Kuda Huraa this month, we recorded 448 Spinners during 13 guest excursions, swimming in pods of between 10 to 80 individuals, during encounters lasting an average of 40 minutes. From our ID photographs, we confirmed resightings of two known individuals. Our database now totals 247 uniquely identified Spinners (using 546 photographic sightings).

At Landaa, we sighted 691 Spinners during the eight dolphin trips this month, in encounters lasting between three to 45 minutes. Calves were sighted in most pods, and common behaviours included cruising, playing, jumping, and bow-riding. From our ID photographs, we confirmed 12 Spinner resightings, and added 11 new uniquely identifiable Spinners to our database.

FEBRUARY

At Kuda Huraa this month, we sighted 470 Spinner dolphins across 15 trips, in pods of 10 to 60 individuals, with encounters lasting an average of 38 minutes. One Spinner was positively identified as a resighting. Our current database totals 247 uniquely identified Spinner dolphin individuals (from 547 photos).

At Landaa, we recorded 430 Spinners and two Bottlenose dolphins, across six excursions in encounters lasting between three to 35 minutes. From our photographs, we were able to uniquely identify six new Spinners, and confirmed six resightings.

MARCH

At Kuda Huraa, we had an impressive number of cetacean sightings across 15 excursions that included not only Spinners (470 individuals) and Bottlenose (35), but also Pilot Whales (52), False Killer Whales (100), and the rarely seen Risso’s Dolphins (6). On average, our encounters lasted 27 minutes, and dolphin calves were usually present.
From our ID photos, we confirmed one Spinner resighting.

At Landaa, we recorded 784 Spinners, two Bottlenose, and 20 Short-Finned Pilot Whales across 13 guest excursions, with encounter times averaging 22 minutes.
From our ID photos, we added two new individual Bottlenose plus nine Spinners to the database (and confirmed 11 Spinner resightings).

Dolphin ID project Spinners Maldives

Playful Spinners jumping in the waves

Dolphin ID project Spinner SL162

Resighting of Spinner #SL162 (Kuda Huraa, January 2022)

marine biology internship Maldives Matt (14) dolphins [1080]

Spinner dolphins are by far the most commonly sighted Cetacean species in the Maldives, and are always a delight to encounter

Dolphin ID Spinners added to database

Spinners added to database in April (at Landaa)

APRIL 2022

At Kuda Huraa this month across 13 guest excursions we recorded 607 Spinners, 30 Bottlenose, 12 Risso’s and 30 Pilot Whales. The largest pod of Spinners consisted of 100 individuals; encounters lasted an average of 31 minutes, and dolphin calves were sighted in most of the pods. Excitingly, one Pilot whale was identified as a resighting. The current database totals now stand at: 44 Bottlenose, 26 Pilot whales, 548 Spinners.

At Landaa, we sighted 483 Spinners across eight excursions, in encounters lasting 5 to 25 minutes. Common behaviours included cruising, playing, jumping, and bow riding. From our ID photos, we were able to uniquely identify eleven new Spinner individuals, and confirm eight resightings.

MAY

At Kuda Huraa this month, we recorded 965 Spinners across 12 trips, swimming in pods of between 20 to 150 individuals, in encounters averaging 37 minutes. From our ID photos, we added three new Spinners to the database, and confirmed six resightings.

At Landaa, we held three guest excursions and sighted 50 Spinners plus three Bottlenose. From our ID photos, we added nine new Spinners and confirmed seven resightings of known individuals.

JUNE

At Landaa this month, we recorded 302 Spinners across seven excursions, in encounters lasting from 10 to 32 minutes. From our ID photos, we added nine Spinners to our database, and confirmed seven resightings.

At Kuda Huraa, we sighted 965 Spinners across twelve trips, and were able to add 3 new Spinners to our database and confirmed 6 resightings.
Our database totals: 558 photographs of 250 Spinners.

Excitingly, we also recorded our first ever pod of:
Pan-tropic Spotted dolphins – 
> smaller than Bottlenose, larger than Spinners.

> less of the tricolor than Spinners.
> without the white Spinner belly.
> Behaviour – long high jumps (rather than spinning).

Bottlenose dolphins Maldives identification

Bottlenose dolphins at play

Dolphin jumping Risso's Maldives

Risso’s dolphin leaping from the water … a very rare treat for us in April, on a guest excursion from Kuda Huraa

Pan-tropic spotted dolphin Maldives rare

A very rare sight in Maldives! …

Pan-tropic spotted dolphin Maldives rare

… ‘Pan-tropic spotted dolphins‘, sighted at Kuda Huraa in June 2022

JULY 2022

At Kuda Huraa this month, we held 12 cruises and recorded totals of: 720 Spinners, 150 Risso’s, and 100 Pantropic-Spotted dolphins. From the photographs we took on each trip, we were able to confirm the resightings of three known individuals already in our database.

 At Landaa, we sighted 195 Spinners and five Bottlenose across 11 excursions, in encounters averaging 15 minutes duration. From our ID photos:
– Spinners – two added to the database; five confirmed resightings.
– Bottlenose – one new individual added; one confirmed resighting.

More ? > Project Page & Dolphin Diaries

Bottlenose dolphins leaping in the waves