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Birthday Dolphin Tour

In my three years living on Wilmington Island Georgia I have not taken a Dolphin Tour. There are a variety of proprietors of such adventures, from Captain Jim operating on Tybee Island's Back River, to Captain Mike's Dolphin Tours on Lazaretto Creek, to the Bull Run Marina Dolphin Tours, all a very short drive from our house. This coastal empire is playground and home to hundreds of bottlenose dolphin that amuse themselves and humans in these creeks, rivers and open waters, and hundreds of children and adults board various craft that ply these waters in search of them. Melissa thought it would be a good pre-birthday gift for me since she has been on one, and took some members of my family on the Bull River tour while I chose golf with two of my brothers. We love the water, a main reason we live here on one of Georgia's barrier islands, and I was wanting to get out and see up-close these intelligent creatures (the dolphin, not the residents). Saturday dawned as clear and sunny and warm as the last dozen or more, so we drove in search of a tour.

The Marlin Marina was our first stop at about twelve forty-five P.M. but we found they were a charter only tour. We drove back around Tybee to Lazaretto Creek to Capt'n Mike's Dolphin Tours and at a few minutes to one we were the third couple to arrive on the dock. The woman in charge (Mrs. Captain Mike) wasn't sure there'd be room for us on board making me wonder if it was a kayak we were talking about rather than the thirty foot boat I saw tied up at the dock with engine running. But a few minutes later a bus pulled into the parking lot answering my question as about 15 young people, with much noise and commotion, bustled past us down the plank and nearly pirated the boat away. We did have the chance to make reservations for the 4 o'clock tour and hastily beat a retreat.

Returning later in the afternoon, when the tide was high, we paid the $12 per person fee and took our place on board along with a small crowd of perhaps 15 others. For the next hour and a quarter we plied the waters of Lazaretto Creek out toward the open water of the mouth of the Savannah River basking in a deliciously bright, cool, Spring afternoon hunting the not so elusive relative of the Killer Whale. We were not disappointed, except perhaps, in the Captain's tight-lipped piloting about the waters. You get a sail not a speech. That's the tour. Even questions were barely answered. Apparently it's tough to talk and steel a boat at the same time. But still, even if we had not spotted any dolphin it would have been a rewarding cruise watching the evening settle in on a gorgeous coastal Georgia day. And the dozen or so of these creatures we did spot made it more delightful.

The pictures taken caught little more than dorsal fins and back sides, but the show was better than this reveals. No, there were not the tail walking, vocal chattering dolphin such as populate Sea World. These were merely friendly neighbors sharing a local habitat, that swam along side us every now and then. And with the pelicans that seemed to be everywhere on a food hunt diving straight into the water, the whole show was pretty cool.

Afterward the plan was to head over to a brand new Caribbean cuisine establishment on Tybee Island. But first let's take the the Short Picture Tour (6 photos). Or take the Complete Picture Tour (32 photos). After that we'll take you to the Tango where it took two to have dinner.

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