When is the best time to encounter dolphins?
Bottlenose dolphins are seen on most days, however we do suggest doing tours in low season. During the peaks (major global holidays) dolphins tend to be a little shyer and a little scarcer as the bays get busier with many boots.
When is the best time to see whales?
Between July and October, sightings peak September & October.
Why do you have a no dive down policy?
By floating on the surface, a clear passage is made for dolphins. Diving down often results in disruption of natural behaviour and causes addition stress.
What type of boat do you use?
We operate an 8m semi rigid dive boat ZODIAC. Avalon takes a maximum of 12 participants and 4 crew. The surf launch is not recommended for fragile and unfit peeps or children under 5.
Why do you launch at first light & not in bad weather?
Encountours take place at first light to avoid winds that often pick up during the course of the day. Choppy sea state makes it difficult to spot dolphins & in-water observations become less in high seas due to large swell close to the coastline. Your safety & comfort is our responsibility when at sea. Every effort will be made to double up a launch on one day, use spare days or do an extended launch if in the event we do not launch.
Why are encountours kept to 10/2 participants?
This is the amount of people we take due to comfortability and regulations. You are joined by a crew of 4 as well as visiting interns/volunteers.
If I have a big group, can you launch 2 boats?
No, we have one boat and follow a one boat policy. Only one boat may approach a pod of dolphins at any given time.
Will equipment (mask, snorkel, fins) be available?
Yes these can be borrowed on the day..
What about sharks?
Since the establishment of the program we have never had any problems with sharks.
Do we need wetsuits?
During summer wetsuits are not required however skin or lycra suits are great to keep stingers at bay. Wetsuits are good for winter as water temperature and wind chill drops. We do not hire out wet suits. A cost effective alternative is a rash vest and lycra leggings.
Do you cater for non-swimmers?
Yes, non-swimmers however are NOT permitted into the water and experience the dolphins and whales from the boat. A fair level of swimming is required.
Why can you NOT guarantee a dolphin swim?
We work with a population of wild dolphins who have a large home range. Although dolphins are seen on most launches there are days that they are not around and not sociable.
Why minimum numbers?
In order for us to meet our minimum costs we require a minimum number of participants. If group size is four or more on Full Dolphin Encountour we can accommodate most dates.
Due to the nature of wild dolphins, sightings are not guaranteed.
DERC reserves the right to cancel & re-schedule launches due to weather & minimum numbers not being met.
Launching is subject to sea state; tours are best early morning when conditions are calmer, oceans quieter & dolphins generally more sociable. Tours do not take place in rough seas and blue bottles/Portuguese man of war. DERC is not responsible for the weather, species abundance a& behaviour, all of which are factors that influence your experience.
Book for the first day of your stay to accommodate rough sea postponements.
Swimming is a prerequisite for entering into the water. You WILL BE GETTING WET even just pushing the boat in.
Tours are not suitable for children under 5, fragile, weak or fearful.
Pre-Bookings are subject to 50% deposit and the balance due 30 days prior to arrival.
On-site bookings, first come first serve. 20% CASH weather refundable deposit 24hr in advance at the Center. Balance payable by card/cash on the day. On-site rates are charged in Meticais and include VAT.
Tours cancelled by DERC will be refunded.
No refunds on missed tours..
Fees are structured around group size of minimum 4 maximum 10/2. Minimum charter fees apply..
Activity waiver / liability / indemnity
Acknowledgement & Assumption of Risk Warning: Like any marine based activity, tour or cruise, passengers participating in ‘Dolphin Encountours & Volunteer programs’ can be exposed to certain inherent risks, therefore I acknowledge and understand that whilst participating in the activity:
The conditions in which the activity is conducted may vary without warning.
I understand that being able to swim and snorkel is a pre-requisite.
The marine mammals are WILD and therefore there are NO guarantees.
I assume the risk of and responsibility for any injury, death or property damage resulting from my participation.
I will attend the pre-tour safety briefing and abide by the DolphinCare Code of Conduct.
I agree to follow all oral and written instructions given to me by DERC during the tour.
Children will behave in a calm and respectful way.
I will query any matters that I do not understand.
I confirm that I am not under the influence of alcohol or any other mind altering substance which may affect my understanding of safety instructions, or ability to safely participate.
I will inform DERC of any mental infirmity, allergies, physical disabilities or any other significant issues that may prejudice my performance/safety or the safety of others.
I agree to pay in full for any damaged or lost gear caused by my or my neglect or actions.
I agree images/video taken during the tour with DERC may be used for marketing & promotion.
Failure to comply will result in the tour being called off.