Did you know that you could go dolphin spotting in Hong Kong? You can, and you should!
After having seen the dusky dolphins in Kaikoura and the hectors dolphins in Haast, New Zealand, we set out to catch a glimpse of the elusive pink dolphins in Hong Kong.
I must admit that I was quite skeptical about spotting any pink dolphin in the first place. Their numbers have dwindled and the species has been endangered over the years. Today, there are close to 60 pink dolphins left near Hong Kong. Pollution, high speed boats, and land reclamation have destroyed their habitat 🙁
Pink Dolphin Facts: Why Are Pink Dolphins Pink?
The colour of the skin of pink dolphins changes as they age. They are born black but turn grey and develop pink spots as they become “teenagers”. Full grown adults are in fact white in colour. That’s why these dolphins are also often referred to as the Chinese White Dolphins. Apparently the sediments that are carried by the Pearl River are emptied into the delta region where these pink dolphins reside. The sediment blocks out the rays of the sun causing the pigmentation to occur.
How To Go Dolphin Watching In Hong Kong?
There are numerous pink dolphin “tours” that operate out of Tai O on Lantau Island. We’d taken one two years ago and it was quite a big disappointment. We paid HKD 20 for a round trip of the Tai O bay area on a noisy speed boat. However, this time we took the official Hong Kong DolphinWatch tour. The good thing about this tour is that they claim a 97% chance of spotting a pink dolphin. If you’re in the unfortunate 3%, they allow you to come back on another day. The boat starts out from Tung Chung and heads towards Tai O. We were told that most of the pink dolphins inhabit the area west of Tai O, between Lantau Island and Macau.
Are Pink Dolphins Real?
Yes, of course they are real and often hard to spot. And even with the odds on my side I was still skeptical of spotting one. But after seeing my first pink dolphin, I was ecstatic and then it just got better as the sightings didn’t stop! We were extremely lucky to have spotted 8 individual pink dolphins (as informed by our tour guides) on numerous occasions on our tour! We really didn’t think that we would see so many pink dolphins and that too so frequently.
As it turned out, it was really difficult to take pictures of these pink dolphins. Why? Because pink dolphins come up to the surface for air every two to eight minutes for 20 to 30 seconds. Also, they are big and bulky (full grown adult male pink dolphins weigh between 150 to 230 kgs as compared to full grown male dusky dolphins that weigh 78 to 85 kgs) which means is that they don’t jump as high, but make a huge splash on their way down! So, there’s a very short window to photograph these creatures.
These were a few of the pictures and a video that I was able to take of the pink dolphins.
Video of Pink Dolphins near Tai O, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Pictures of Pink Dolphins near Tai O, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
A big thank you to the folks in Hong Kong DolphinWatch for making this possible!