What does beach time look like for kids? Drawing in the sand, building sand castles and playing in the water. Escaping from Bali’s busy southern hub, the north coast holds another highlight of the island. This is Lovina, and the area offers an experience beyond just building sand castles, seeing the famous dolphins in Bali.
The long stretch of black sand beaches can be a turn off because it is not as attractive as the beaches on the south. But the laid-back fishing village offers serene mornings complete with awesome sunrises and a daytime atmosphere somewhat different to that of the vibrant coastal area in the south. The place is known for the frequent sighting of pods of dolphins swimming and jumping through the water only few hundred meters off the shoreline – it is the best place to see dolphins in Bali. Day trips are possible, but staying overnight provides time to explore the area.
Dolphin watching is of course one of the most well known attractions in the area. It is an opportunity to introduce the kids to one of the cetaceans and watch them swimming in their natural habitat. These intelligent aquatic mammals are generally very playful, they like to jump up out the water and flip. They also go to the surface to communicate with their pod. Sometimes it looks like that they’re enjoying their interaction with the boat, swimming close to the bow or wake riding along side the stern.
This social cetacean is mostly very active in the morning and afternoon. A sunrise tour is very much recommended, but it requires you to set off at 5.30am at the latest. Early morning tours offers a greater chance to see the dolphins, less boats are out and also the salty cool morning breeze is healthy and refreshing. Another addition is that the entire family can enjoy a beautiful sunrise while cruising the calm ocean. Another option is the 8 am or 10 am tour, but normally there will be more boats. An afternoon tour is also available, but the sea condition in the area is often more rough in the afternoon.
After dolphin watching, when the sea is calm the boat takes the guests to a snorkelling site nearby the shore. Remember to check the snorkelling gears before departed for the tour and ask whether they have been cleaned. You will have 15 to 20 minutes to swim around the boat or explore the waters beneath. Colourful fish and corals dwell in the shallow water.
Order the skipper for a calm tour as there are some tour organisers that end up chasing the pods. The behaviour of the skippers in the area may give you the impression that they are in competition in chasing the dolphins. My casual investigation to this concluded that the skippers are just very eager to satisfy the customers by making sure that they can see the dolphins, and also not all of them are aware that the boat noise may affect the communication between the members of the pod, especially those with a calf – so please don’t encourage this. The tour can be a fantastic learning experience for the kids, but just like any other animal watching in the wild, you may end up with no sighting at all. Nevertheless, you should definitely put seeing dolphins in Bali on your Bali bucket list.