Without a doubt, the most popular locals are the dolphins that live here. Closely followed by Kev at the bottle shop ;)
We are lucky enough to have a resident population of AUSTRALIAN HUMPBACK DOLPHINS living in our waterways. Their scientific name is Sousa sahulensis.
The Humpback dolphin is also called a ‘estuarine dolphin’ or is referred to as an 'inshore' species because they mostly occur in shallow waters near the shore, often at the mouths of estuaries and in tidal channels. We have personally seen them in the creek as far up as the entrance to Tom's creek and along the Agnes Water main beach all the way to the point and everywhere in between.
Quite often, we see them hunting fish over shallow sandbars - they love the shallow environment!
Another place we see them regularly is at the mouth of the creek. This seems to be not only a feeding area for them, but also a social meeting point. We have seen mum's tossing fish to their babies or bringing up seaweed or sponges to play with (or possibly teach the younger something).
From our observations over the years, we seem to have mostly female, juvenile and baby dolphins in our creek. We know there are more groups in other estuaries like Eurimbula creek just to the north of us.
Studies are currently being done in our area and we hope to find out more about them.
Sandra Riemer, who is doing the research, says: "...it seems Round Hill Creek may be far more important for the Sousa than the other major creeks in the area - that is just what our preliminary data is suggesting anyway."
It’s a privilege to see them up close.
These dolphins are quite shy, they do not like to ‘bow ride’ like other dolphin species, but they do fully jump out of the water occasionally.
The Australian humpback dolphin is listed as vulnerable in Queensland and local populations are considered to be 'vulnerable to decline' because of small population sizes and low population growth rates. This makes it even more special to see them.
According to the Department of Environment and Science, threats to the Australian humpback dolphin include "habitat loss and degradation from development, poor water quality, noise pollution, boating activities, unregulated feeding, incidental capture in fisheries and incidental capture by the Shark Control Program. Entanglement and ingestion of recreational fishing gear (hooks and line) or marine debris may also pose a threat."
We have personally observed many times that noise pollution, especially from jet skis, really stresses them out.
When we see them, we never chase them, interrupt them in whatever they are doing or harass them in any way. We always just observe and enjoy the moment. It's such joy and even after 9 years in this business, we get excited every time they decide to say hello.
So you REALLY want to see a dolphin?!
You REALLY need to be patient! And spend time on or near the water. There’s not much chance of seeing one from the couch...Keep your eyes peeled when walking along Agnes Water's main beach, try spotting some from the 1770 headland lookout or come and join our one of our kayak tours.
While we cannot guarantee that you will see them, there is a pretty good chance that you might. Simon especially, has a good eye for them and after spending 10+ years on the water in a kayak here, he knows where to look and what to look for.
We might even spot some of the long term locals, like 'Old Salty', or maybe 'Sasha', whom we named after a white sash she has.
The best chances of spotting them are on our sunset tour, but since they call the creek home, there is always a chance you'll see them.
If you are visiting us with children, we recommend our family tour, which focuses on fun for the little ones.
If it's not primarily dolphins you are keen to see but some of the more unusual and lesser known wildlife, our nature tour is for you! Here is another blog post we wrote about all the crazy creatures we have found living here.