Chasing Sunrise and Dolphins in Bali

The beaches of Lovina may not be the prettiest in Bali, Indonesia, but what they lack in beach beauty, they make up in gorgeous sunrises and pods of dolphins swimming freely in the wild!

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We rose at the butt crack of dawn hoping to be one of the first ones out in the open water. The morning was cool, calm and it didn’t take long for the other boats to arrive before the sun peaked over the horizon in shades of orange and yellow and red.

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It didn’t take long for our skipper to steer away from the crowd. We had a bit of the sea to ourselves. And then it happened, our first fin and sighting.

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I’ve seen plenty of dolphins before but there’s just something magical about seeing them in the wild, in their natural habitat that’s just so exciting. Before we knew it, dolphins were popping up and down, left and right!

Here they are in pairs..

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But my favorite of sightings are the ones in pods!

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You don’t really need a lot of patience to spot a dolphin. But if you want to capture it on camera, having one that allows you to shoot on continuous is important because they are fast. We had trouble getting a good photo until Gerard switched over to continuous mode. And, of the 200+ shots we took, we left with a handful of decent shots.

Satisfied with that, we put our cameras down and simply basked in the gorgeous sunrise overlooking Lovina Beach with a few dolphins skipping along the horizon.

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So there is a bit of controversy whether the large number of boats harm the dolphins. I had my reservations at first because there seems to be a lot of boats in the water.

OK, without getting all political, here’s my quick two cents from what I’ve witnessed: the boats generally kept a safe distance allowing the dolphins to swim freely. Our skipper would either slow down or turn off the engine as soon as the dolphins were in sight. No bait was thrown in the water to lure the dolphins closer, and the dolphins genuinely seem like they were having a good time too.. chasing the sunrise.

Morning rose and the dolphins seem to dwindle in number. We spent a total of 45 minutes at sea before heading back in time for banana pancakes and mango shakes. A great way to start the day.

Where else can you see dolphins in the wild?

 

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  • http://twitter.com/20YH Tony K + Steph H

    That first shot of the dolphin leaping out of the water is AMAZING; it made my pulse race just seeing it! Doesn’t matter how many shots it took to get it, in the end, those gems you got were absolutely worth all the frames you had to throw away. We’ll be heading to Bali in July and I sooo want to do this now!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yup! Thank goodness we’re no longer using film. Ooh, Bali in July.. that’s when we were there. Enjoy!

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    That first shot of the dolphin leaping out of the water is AMAZING; it made my pulse race just seeing it! Doesn’t matter how many shots it took to get it, in the end, those gems you got were absolutely worth all the frames you had to throw away. We’ll be heading to Bali in July and I sooo want to do this now!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yup! Thank goodness we’re no longer using film. Ooh, Bali in July.. that’s when we were there. Enjoy!

  • http://twitter.com/toniwonitravels Toni

    I never got a chance to get to Lovina when I was on Bali and I really wish I had…now that I’ve seen these photos, I wish I had even more! :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      There’s always next time! =)

  • http://twitter.com/toniwonitravels Toni

    I never got a chance to get to Lovina when I was on Bali and I really wish I had…now that I’ve seen these photos, I wish I had even more! :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      There’s always next time! =)

  • http://twitter.com/thismyhappiness Jenna Francisco

    I love that photo of the pair leaping. I have to admit, too, that I wonder if the large number of boats there is good for them, but your observations seem to paint a better picture. :) I stayed near Lovina but didn’t see dolphins or know about these tours.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yea I had my reservations too. But I do think they are trying to regulate and make sure it’s safe for the dolphins and still entertaining for the tourists. =)

  • Jenna Francisco

    I love that photo of the pair leaping. I have to admit, too, that I wonder if the large number of boats there is good for them, but your observations seem to paint a better picture. :) I stayed near Lovina but didn’t see dolphins or know about these tours.

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Yea I had my reservations too. But I do think they are trying to regulate and make sure it’s safe for the dolphins and still entertaining for the tourists. =)

  • http://www.fourjandals.com/ Cole @ FourJandals.com

    You managed to capture some beautiful shots! We love seeing dolphins around NZ when we go out diving and hopefully will spot some in Iceland in April on our next trip :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ahh I wish we did some diving in NZ when we were there. Spotting them in Iceland would be wicked. Uber jealous..

  • http://www.fourjandals.com/ Cole @ FourJandals.com

    You managed to capture some beautiful shots! We love seeing dolphins around NZ when we go out diving and hopefully will spot some in Iceland in April on our next trip :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ahh I wish we did some diving in NZ when we were there. Spotting them in Iceland would be wicked. Uber jealous..

  • Helen5198

    Wow that sounds amazing. I went turtle spotting in Zakyntho (Zante) last year, and we only saw one but the speedboat circled the poor thing for ages, whilst all the tourists gawked at it. I did take a few snaps, but I thought we would only go round twice but we went round about ten times! I thought that was a huge shame, and next time I want to see a turtle in Greece, I’m going to go to a conservation!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ohh.. there’s this beach in Oahu, Hawaii where you can go see sea turtles swim and come to shore. There are so many and they have conservationists (?) on shore to make sure the tourists stay a safe distance to not harm the turtles. It’s really a cool site if you’re ever heading to Hawaii. =)

  • Helen5198

    Wow that sounds amazing. I went turtle spotting in Zakyntho (Zante) last year, and we only saw one but the speedboat circled the poor thing for ages, whilst all the tourists gawked at it. I did take a few snaps, but I thought we would only go round twice but we went round about ten times! I thought that was a huge shame, and next time I want to see a turtle in Greece, I’m going to go to a conservation!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      Ohh.. there’s this beach in Oahu, Hawaii where you can go see sea turtles swim and come to shore. There are so many and they have conservationists (?) on shore to make sure the tourists stay a safe distance to not harm the turtles. It’s really a cool site if you’re ever heading to Hawaii. =)

  • eup_py

    Hey I found your website while I was googling for dolphin experience in Bali. Great pics!!! May I know how much did you pay for dolphin watching and where did you reserve this? Thank you! :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Thanks! We paid 60,000 Indonesian Rupiah per person. That equates to a little over $6 per person. You can pretty much book it with any hotel you stay with in Lovina or any boatman you see on the beach the day before.

  • eup_py

    Hey I found your website while I was googling for dolphin experience in Bali. Great pics!!! May I know how much did you pay for dolphin watching and where did you reserve this? Thank you! :)

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Thanks! We paid 60,000 Indonesian Rupiah per person. That equates to a little over $6 per person. You can pretty much book it with any hotel you stay with in Lovina or any boatman you see on the beach the day before.

  • http://twitter.com/TriciaAMitchell Tricia A. Mitchell

    Such a lovely capture of that pair!

    We didn’t go dolphin spotting while in Bali, but attempted it in the Canary Islands during our honeymoon. No luck – I was disappointed. Imagine my delight, however, to see a trio of dolphins this past weekend while sailing in Croatia. It was an unexpected happening, and that made it even more special. It’s certainly magical seeing them in the wild!

  • Tricia A. Mitchell

    Such a lovely capture of that pair!

    We didn’t go dolphin spotting while in Bali, but attempted it in the Canary Islands during our honeymoon. No luck – I was disappointed. Imagine my delight, however, to see a trio of dolphins this past weekend while sailing in Croatia. It was an unexpected happening, and that made it even more special. It’s certainly magical seeing them in the wild!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      OH Croatia! It’s definitely on my bucket list. Didn’t think dolphin sighting is an attraction there, but that’s awesome!

  • Wai Marie

    Thank you for this nice post and the lovely pictures!

    I am going to be in Bali in a few weeks and would love to see dolphins. I had an amazing encounter in NZ just from the beach. I would prefer it that way and was wondering if they are coming close enough to see them from the beach and then snorkel out to them? How far are they usually away?

    Thanks a lot!

    • http://www.GQtrippin.com/ Kieu – GQ trippin

      It’s definitely an attraction here and by now, I’m sure the dolphins have caught on. If you’re lucky enough with an aggressive boater, he’ll get you close enough — within a couple meters maybe? I mean, we weren’t that far and got lucky a few times when they popped up next to our boat. I don’t think you can snorkel out to them though, it’s much further out from shore. Do the boat. Enjoy Bali!! 😀

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