If you’re missing the calming lull of ocean waves, think about taking a ride out into the Atlantic on a dolphin tour! With some companies continuing into the winter months, there are various options to take the family on a fun, educational day trip—or to just start planning ahead for 2020!

Most dolphin tours glide through the coastal waterways in search of bottlenose dolphins. These porpoises are native to South Carolina and hang around even when it gets colder due to their layer of warm blubber. You can see their sleek, gray bodies diving and spraying throughout the frothy waves with some reaching lengths of 13 feet!
This species is very intelligent, in fact, only second to chimpanzees in the grade book. They have been known to communicate with humans, figure out how to use artificial tools, and pass information from generation to generation! Since they hang out in pods for protection, you may see a whole family of them snacking on bycatch from shrimping boats. They actually eat 22 pounds of fish a day! Don’t be surprised if you catch a few turtles or other forms of wildlife swimming around too.
The guides are trained to lead tours as close to the pods as possible while keeping a safe distance as to not disrupt the dolphins from their own personal communication techniques. This is called echolocation or the uses of sounds, whistles, and body language to speak to each other through the water. Most of the time, they’re just feet away! Sometimes you may even catch a splash from the playful creatures or be able to hear their cute clicks and squeals.
Check out this websitefor links to the multitude of tours offered on the Grand Strand and get planning! The dolphins are waiting for you.

–  By Olivia Dimatteo, a blog contributor for Garden City Realty

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