Prepare to embark on a navigation adventure in the Patagonian Sea, to discover the beautiful black-and-white Panda Dolphins. Known for their playful behavior and electrifying speed, this super cute dolphin is very rare to see, as it is found in two spots on Earth: Patagonia, and near a very remote island in the Indian Ocean.
The Panda Dolphin is very active, and is frequently seen swimming rapidly on the surface and leaping from the water, while surfing the waves created by the fast-moving boats. As they love swimming close to the surface, it’s easy to see them very clearly. They love to surf on breaking waves when very close to the shore, and can perform a variety of acrobatics, including spins and twists. What is awe-inspiring and unusual about these dolphins is that they sometimes swim upside down! It is believed that they do so in order to improve the visibility of their prey.
Also known as “Tonina Overa”, the Panda Dolphins are distinguishable by the contrast of black and white on their bodies: head, tail and flippers are black, while the rest of the body is white. They are known as the Panda Dolphins because their color scheme resembles that of Panda bears. Presently, they are red listed as a threatened species.
This navigation experience starts at Rawson port, where we’ll hop aboard our rigid inflatable boat (a lightweight but high-performance inflatable boat), and begin our navigation into the protected area of Engaño Bay, home to the Panda Dolphin colony.
The navigation tour will last about 1 hour and 15 minutes, depending on how far we have to navigate to see the Panda Dolphins. As a bonus, in the harbor near the port from where we depart, there usually are some colonies of seals; if we’re lucky, we will see huge male sea lions with manes, as well.
Important: this tour is done on the same day as your Punta Tombo’s Magellanic Penguins tour. This navigation experience is subject to weather conditions; as such,in bad weather conditions the dolphin-watching will not be possible. If the tour is cancelled, you’ll receive a full refund for the cost of the tour after you finish your trip.
Important: please bear in mind that, even though panda dolphins are usually spotted from close-up on this tour, it can sometimes happen that they don’t show up close, or even at all.
Duration: approximately 1 hour to 1 hour and a half (can last more depending on how far we have to navigate to find the Panda Dolphins). This tour is done on the same day you do your Punta Tombo’s Magellanic Penguins tour.
Guide: no guide is needed for this sightseeing navigation. Usually the boat captain only speaks Spanish.
Vehicle: group vehicle. The boat used for this tour has a maximum capacity limit for 50 travelers.
Photo credits: some of the photos above were provided by Sneibrun Fotografia and Toninas Adventure. Thanks for helping us with some of these awesome photos!