One of the most memorable things you can do here in Key West is a dolphin watching tour.  The Florida Keys is called home by approximately 200 resident Bottle Nose dolphin.  It is quite an awe inspiring experience when you first encounter these playful creatures in their natural habitat.  They love to entertain and interact with humans, so without regard they tend to put on quite a show.  Even if they aren't in the mood to play, just watching them feeding, cruising an area, or teaching their young survival techniques, it is still an incredible site to take in.

Dolphin have developed a unique bond with humans over time.  In fact in the past few decades, they have gained a reputation for their supposed healing powers.  Dolphin have been used in conjunction with traditional therapies for children suffering from Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, severe Autism, as well as other disabilities. There have been claims that dolphin can reach their children in ways that psychiatrists, physical therapists, or medications never could.  Locally they have even been used to work with Veterans who have lost their limbs.  There have been claims that dolphin have been able to zap tumors with their natural sonar and heal muscle injuries, as well as stimulate the brains of the mentally disabled.  In the Ukraine dolphin have been used to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, headaches, and depression, as well as Autism.  whether there is a true scientific link between the permanently improved mental or physical condition and the interaction with the dolphin, it is evident that the bond between humans and dolphins is strong.

Our local dolphin are Bottlenose dolphin and are mammals found in tropical oceans and warm waters.  Their brain is actually larger than a humans and have potential for higher intelligence.  They communicate with each other with a complex system of squeaks and whistles.  They can grow to 14 feet in length and can weigh up to 1100 pounds.  They generally live to be 45-50 years old.  They are a warm blooded mammals and have an internal temperature of 98 degrees.  A thick layer of blubber, much like the whale, maintains this temperature.  As one of the fastest sea mammals dolphin can swim up to 260 meters below the surface of the ocean at speeds ranging from 19 to just over 50 mph, but need to surface frequently for air.  Therefore you generally find dolphin swimming in the shallow waters and staying close to the surface.  They can travel up to approximately 80 miles a day and are generally found hunting for food, playing, or cruising with their pods.  Dolphin use a technique called echolocation to find food and to navigate.  It works much  like sonar, whereas it sends ultrasounds through the water which bounce back to the dolphin to decode.  This technique enables the dolphin to detect other animals, food and obstacles.  Dolphin are very social creatures.  They work in teams to optimize their hunting efforts for food, a diet consisting of fish, squid, and shrimp.  They also assist each other in raising the calves.   

Dolphin  have been negatively impacted by humans in terms of our contributing contaminants into the waters, such as plastics, chemicals, and oil which harm dolphin internally as well as killing their food resources.  Commercial fishing has been a risk to them in areas where netting is permitted.  They end up caught in the nets and cannot surface for air or get injured.  In some countries dolphin are still hunted and captured.  They were killed for their meat and oil used for lamps and cooking, or for commercial use in aquariums and parks.  Dolphin need to continuously move which is one of the many reasons their survival rate is so low for those in captivity, thats if they even survive the traumatic capture.  Dolphin are generally found in areas where boating is common.  They can suffer severe if not deadly injuries when struck by a boat.  Their skin is highly sensitive so injury can even occur just from coming in contact with debri or being touched by humans.  More and more laws are being put in place to protect this beautiful species.  We do not want to harm these majestic creatures, so we must respect the rules which have been put in place to protect them.

At DNA Backcountry Adventures we will take you on a memorable cruise through the playground which many of these colorful dolphin call their home.  Included in our Dolphin watching tour is either a snorkeling adventure to some shallow patch reefs in the pristine waters of the Florida Keys backcountry or a beach stop at one of our breathtaking out island beaches where you can explore a deserted island or just sit in a few inches of water and relax.   You choose your trip and we will make your day a memorable one.