I have always grown up around the ocean and have been very fortunate to have always had a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life. Whether it was snorkelling, fishing, diving, or simply just swimming, there is something that simply draws me to it. I pursued this passion with my studies, completing my Marine Science degree at Murdoch University in Perth. From there, I could go anywhere and do anything! And so, I found myself in beautiful Broome. When the opportunity arose to spend my afternoons out on a lovely boat in Roebuck Bay, spotting the unique snubfin dolphins and sharing with passengers my knowledge about the marine life, topped off with Broome’s famous sunsets, how could I possibly say no?
As an avid traveller and diver, I seek out the most pristine world class dive sites to chase down sharks, fish, manta rays, whales, fluorescent corals, and everything in between. But what truly excited me about Broome is that Roebuck Bay has the most biodiverse intertidal flats in the world! Few places can boast the impressive marine life we have here. From the remarkable amount of migratory birds, multiple turtle nesting areas, sea snakes, crocodiles, huge mud crabs, the illusive dugong, a vast array of fish, deadly jellyfish, and three different species of dolphins. You can see why a marine biologist like myself would get so excited.
I have never really studied or even seen the snubfin dolphin before moving up here, and what a curious little creature they are! They have a very distinctive snub face unlike any other species I have seen. They are also significantly smaller than the common bottlenose dolphin. We can usually find them in pods between 6-20, which makes for an excellent show on our Snubfin Dolphin Sunset Eco Tour. They also have a very interesting hunting technique where they lift their heads out of the water and spit in front of a school of fish, scaring the fish into swimming back towards them. We boast the second largest populations of the endemic snubfins, so it’s one of the best places in Australia to come and observe them on our sunset cruise.
I’m not entirely sure what I expected when I moved up here, other than sunshine and warmth, but it far exceeded any expectations that I did have. I was welcomed on board by an amazing crew, and passengers who were eager to listen and learn about the things I’m most passionate about. On my very first dolphin cruise I was blown away by what we saw, including a pod of false killer whales! I couldn’t believe it! I think that has definitely been the highlight for me so far. It’s always a guaranteed enjoyable afternoon on the boat on our eco tour, finishing with a truly breathtaking sunset. The best feeling is at the end of the day waving goodbye to a group of smiling faces, knowing that they’re leaving with a little more knowledge that I got to teach them, and memories that we got to share together.
Kathryn Dyball, Marine biologist at Absolute Ocean Charters