Dolphin Watch And Eco Tour
If you're on vacation in South Padre Island, then you can't leave without going on an eco tour and dolphin watching trip. It doesn't get much better than spending some time cruising Laguna Madre Bay, learning about some local fish you caught in a net, watching the playful and intelligent dolphins frolicking in their natural environment, enjoying the scenery, and watching an unbelievable sunset. There are a variety of companies that offer dolphin watching trips, but why not go with the best and the original South Padre Island dolphin watching tour company appropriately named The Original Dolphin Watch. During your winter vacation in South Padre Island, they offer three tours:
- Port of Brownsville Tours - tour the busiest port in Texas and learn some of the history of the port, watch some dolphins, check out working oil and gas rigs, see a variety of shrimp boats and international shipping boats, and lots more
- Dolphin Watch Tour - tour Laguna Madre Bay and the mouth to the Gulf of Mexico in search of dolphins
- Dolphin Watch and Eco Tour - view pods of dolphins and learn about, with hands on, some of sea life in the Bay
- Sunset Dolphin Watch - set off in search of dolphins and one of the most treasured assets of South Padre Island - a spectacular sunset
During our winter vacation on South Padre Island, we chose the Dolphin Watch and Eco Tour with The Original Dolphin Watch. We set off on an overcast and windy afternoon on a twin engine, double deck, 60' catamaran hull cruise boat in search of pods of dolphin. Shortly after we departed, the crew dropped a net and we started dragging the bottom of Laguna Madre Bay (the section we were cruising and most of the bay is only 5 to 6 feet deep) to see what we could snag. After twenty minutes, the net was hauled in and the collection was added to a huge cooler for us to learn about. For the next thirty minutes or so, one of the crew grabbed each one of our catch and gave us a very informative talk about that particular fish, its feeding habits, defensive armament, and lots more. And then gave everyone an opportunity to hold the specimen and ask questions before they were released back into the Bay. Not only did we learn a lot but we saw and touched some very interesting fish, squid, and rays. Kids and adults loved it!
The rest of the tour was spent touring the bay and mouth to the entrance of the Gulf in search of pods of playful dolphin. It's almost impossible to take this cruise and not see at least one or two dolphin up close. The Bay is a year-round home to several large pods of bottlenose and spinner dolphin and its amazing to watch these playful and highly intelligent mammals in their natural environment. They will swim up close to the boat and give you a huge smile, twist and turn, and occasional leap high out of the water. What a fun life it seems they live as they swim the bay, fish, enjoy the scenery, bond with each other, and entertain the thousands of tourists. I want to be one when I grow up!
During the tour, in addition to enjoying the warm weather and the scenery, you'll learn a lot about dolphins. For example, the typical dolphin in the Bay weighs an average of 400 pounds and grows to be typically 8 feet in length. Their life span is about 40 years and the mother dolphins may have about five babies in their lifetime. Mothers will carefully watch over their babies for 3 or 4 years and during your tour you will most likely get to observe their playful family behavior. Dolphins are mammals, not fish, because they are warm blooded rather than cold blooded. Another significant factor of a dolphin's physiology is that they breathe air. Dolphins have a blow hole at the top of their heads and must surface periodically to breathe, although they can hold their breath for anywhere from 7 to 30 minutes depending on the dolphin species. How 'bout that for a short dolphin lesson - they are amazing to watch and extremely intelligent and friendly.
This is a fun way to spend a few hours and a must if you're in the area. The prices are also very reasonable. Don't leave without taking a dolphin watching tour.
In addition to dolphin watching tours, The Original Dolphin Watch company is a part of American Diving which offers snorkel trips, diving adventures, scuba charters, snorkeling lessons, and diving certification. Unique to diving in the South Padre area is the opportunity to dive both oil rigs and the Texas Clipper. The Texas Clipper was a 473 foot merchant marine training vessel with the Texas Maritime Academy at Texas A&M University at Galveston for 30 years beginning in 1965 until it was transferred to Texas Parks & Wildlife and sunk in 110 feet of water off South Padre Island to serve as an artificial reef.
What are you waiting for, call The Original Dolphin Watch (956 761-4243) and book a fun afternoon on Laguna Madre Bay or a dive on the American Clipper (956 761-2030)!
Return to our Vacation in South Padre Island article.