“Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch is a pioneering force, uniting communities in a citizen science endeavour that has reshaped lives. For 18 years, this project has harnessed the passion of volunteers of all ages, immersing them in dolphin research and marine conservation. Beyond collecting invaluable data on dolphins, their inclusive approach empowers individuals, addresses social isolation, and fosters environmental stewardship. This transformative initiative has garnered widespread recognition, including awards like the 2021 SA Citizen Science Award for Outstanding Community Engagement. Dolphin Watch is a shining example of how community-driven efforts can create lasting impacts on our oceans, communities, and wellbeing.”
Thankyou and well done to MC Elspeth Hussey, 7 News, Southern Cross Austereo, Ryde International, Woolworths, The Career College and all sponsors and supporters of the inspiring Community Achievement Awards AND to all the fantastic, inspiring nominees, finalists and winners!!
This recognition of our Citizen Science volunteers’ efforts over the last 18 years is greatly appreciated and an absolute fillip to our continuing vital research efforts.
Such acknowledgements provide just the lift needed to encourage ongoing development and sustainability of our longitudinal project and greater understanding of Cetacean welfare globally.
Our heartfelt thanks to our mentors, ecotourism operators and collaborators, volunteers of all ages, sponsors and supporters for making it all possible.
The 2023 National Science Week event “Investigating Critical Corridors”- ‘Using data to determine dolphin migratory pathways in the region’ hosted by Kangaroo Island / Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch on Kangaroo Island and in Victor Harbor on the mainland was highly successful by any measure. http://www.scienceweek.net.au
The first research survey on The Big Duck Boat Tours http://thebigduck.com.au on August 9th in Encounter Bay saw Citizen Science volunteers take part in shorebird surveys in conjunction with Birdlife Australia around the islands off Victor Harbor, then travel to areas off Wright Island to observe, record and collect invaluable data regarding the Bottlenose dolphins who frequent the area. A high energy display of feeding on a mullet school was both exciting and highly interesting from a data perspective.
The second and third surveys aboard Kangaroo Island Marine Adventures http://www.kimarineadventures.com.au vessel “Island Explorer” to North Cape off Kingscote on Kangaroo Island on August 14th and 30th involved volunteers in meaningful data collection exercises. All 3 surveys in the region involved a number of new participants of all ages, including a group of teenagers – families of several KI Council representatives.
The 3 open workshops on August 8th, 10th and 11th at the Victor Harbor Visitors Centre / SA Whale Centre www.visitvictorharbor.com allowed community members to come and observe, or be involved if they wished in the data analysis, collation and cataloguing exercise using the data gathered during the Science Week survey and on previous surveys.
The workshop at the Ozone Hotel www.ozonehotelki.com.au in Kingscote on August 18th involved volunteers being able to participate in the morning tea Brain Break Quiz activities prepared by National Science Week. This proved to be a funfilled activity for all concerned and gave further evidence to the part Science plays in our everyday lives.
All 4 workshops involved positive visitation, important meetings and very productive collaborations, including with Birdlife Australia’s Kerri Bartley http://www.birdlife.org.au, who will be regularly joining our monthly surveys with a group of Birdlife Australia volunteers participating in vital shorebird surveys and a data collection exercise including endangered species, focussing on the islands in the Encounter Bay area where a number of species breed. A particular focus is the Fairy Tern which has recently been added to the threatened species list.
Discussions and worthy collaborations included a very productive session with shark expert Dr Jonathan Werry, previously one of the Big Duck Boat Tours skippers, with a strong interest in linkages with dolphin data collection. Dr Werry gathered our data on dolphin damage collected over 18 years as part of his forensic analysis of dolphin injuries /shark / boat strike, in preparation for his paper on “White Sharks” which will be presented to an international conference in Port Lincoln in November. It is very heartening to see our longitudinal data used by experts in such important scientific applications and conservation work.
The intent to involve community “decision makers” as part of the activities proved fruitful as a number of Council personnel participated, gaining insights into the part scientific data collection plays in informed decision making. The exercise was well received as shown by very positive verbal and written feedback.
Participants included teenagers through to respected senior citizens in the community, exchange students, regional Councillors and staff, photographers, environmentalists, visitors and regular volunteers. Fortunately this year the weather was kind with all 3 surveys carried out in excellent conditions leading to brilliant data collection exercises and very positive experiences for all on board.
Each survey and workshop involved considerable socialising, discussions and information sharing, offering many opportunities to focus on and celebrate Science in our regional community. Numerous morning teas and enjoyable lunches at The Causeway Café, Eat at Whalers, Emu Bay Lavender Farm and The Ozone Hotel were thoroughly enjoyed with wonderful connections and social opportunities so vital in isolated communities. Bringing a cross section of the community together over a common cause and passion creates a sense of purpose, belonging etc and increased health and wellbeing.
We were delighted to receive excellent local and regional media visitation and support helping to spread our message, thanks to Editor Michael Simmons and journalists Emma Heidenreich and Stan Gorton. Articles featured in The Times Victor Harbor, the Fleurieu Sun and The Islander Newspapers and on line coverage, for which we are truly grateful. Emma joined our Victor Harbor survey and thoroughly enjoyed the Citizen Science experience during which she interviewed a number of participants, including two French exchange students witnessing dolphins up close in their natural environment for the first time. The results were excellent coverage and a front page feature in The Times Newspaper, with great feedback from the community as a response.
During one of the 3 Victor Harbor Workshops Coordinator Tony was interviewed by Angela Coe at ABC Regional Radio about National Science Week and what our 13th event was all about. The importance of data acquisition for use in informing management practises was highlighted together with the invaluable work of Citizen Scientists in this process. The part Science Week events play in giving participants the chance to act as scientists in this data collection and analysis, if they wished, clearly indicated the role they could play in true scientific research.
Our Theme “Investigating Critical Corridors” exploring and analysing movements, patterns, behaviours and preferred habitat was well served by the event on surveys and in workshops, introductory pre survey briefings , workshop activities, discussions, meetings etc. Participants were able to grasp and fully appreciate these fundamental elements in conservation and protection of dolphins about which very little is known. Dolphins as a sentinel species, but with iconic status constantly prove to be an ideal vehicle to engage the community, and decision makers in particular, in scientific data collection with strong linkages to STEM programs, initiatives and pathways.
The main agenda of encouraging community members to participate in scientific research thus expanding their understanding of the importance of STEM in every day decision making was clearly promulgated and the wider community’s understanding was enhanced accordingly. The second agenda of introducing the importance of scientific data collection to local decision makers across the region was also effective with a good take up rate by Councillors and Council management staff, on Kangaroo Island in particular.
On Kangaroo Island and more recently in Victor Harbor, we eagerly anticipate National Science Week each year and relish the opportunity to celebrate Science, the value of meaningful data collection and application in conservation, and the importance of community members of all ages developing a sense of stewardship and custodianship in their environment. All core business elements of our project were fostered and made possible by wonderful funding and support for which we are truly grateful. Once again our heartfelt thanks to Inspiring South Australia www.inspiringsa.org.au and to the SA National Science Week Committee for the fantastic help, support and faith in our project. Hearty congratulations once again on a magnificent range of Science Week events and celebrations across the country!
We were delighted to be a small part of the celebrations and are already planning and looking forward to our 2024 event, revisiting our 2013 theme of “Survival” which seems appropriate!
Goodwill Wine was created to reward the supporters of great causes with great wines.
Goodwill Wine www.goodwillwine.com.au sources quality boutique Australian wines at below cellar door prices and donates half of the profits to wonderful Australian charities and non-profit organisations. We can enjoy delicious, affordable wines while supporting small batch growers and worthy causes….including Kangaroo Island / Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch!
The proverbial “Win / Win” situation.
In fact, the wines are so good they come with a money-back guarantee. The Age describes them as “seriously good” and Gourmet Traveller Wine says they’re “quality boutique wine”. Which means you can get great wine, while supporting a great cause. Cheers to that!
To date Goodwill Wines have donated $512,642 and counting to a host of amazing, inspiring Australian Charities! Want to support us just by drinking wine? Now you can! Buy Goodwill Wine and we’ll get 50% of the profits.
Thankyou SO much wonderful Goodwill Wines Founder CEO David Laity and team for believing in us and patiently offering your magnificent support for @kivhdolphinwatch since October 2020! The money provided through this sponsorship goes directly towards supporting vital dolphin research and we are truly grateful for your amazing efforts.
Citizen Science experiences and accomplishments for a busy year so far have been many and varied, often involving meaningful collaborations and supportive efforts!
Ongoing monthly research survey effort continues, weather permitting, on Kangaroo Island (233 to date) and in Victor Harbor (134 to date) resulting in significant data collection and fantastic on water encounters. A number of regular intensive data workshops, punctuated with a variety of enthusiastic visitors have been very productive and most enjoyable.
Using this data to continue efforts for greater protection and conservation of critical habitat areas underpins our core business. Metrics provide us with invaluable insights into the effectiveness of our project which relates directly to the health and welfare of marine biodiversity in the region and particularly in the Kangaroo Island North Coast Hope Spot, working towards the Mission Blue goals: WISH, ACT, PROTECT. www.missionblue.org
Dolphins acting as ecological bio indicators of the health of marine environments is well understood and the role they give us in providing these snapshots and information cannot be underestimated, with an emerging focus on the need to protect migratory pathways and corridors between critical habitat areas.
Vital ongoing and extensive Citizen Science data collection along the North West coast of KI since 2021 by Research and Discovery Coastal Tours KI, researching a range of marine species and birds, a number of which are endangered, is fantastic! Generously incorporating their dolphin data collection and collation into Dolphin Watch longitudinal data sets is being undertaken providing a great opportunity to extend the areas of research for Kangaroo Island / Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch. RAD KI offers access to previously unexplored sites, as well as providing valuable opportunities to educate widely about the importance of marine environments and in particular the North Coast Hope Spot. www.radki.com.au
Celebrating our 18th year on Kangaroo Island on Survey 231 to Dashwood Bay in March was made extra special with the makeup of the crew. Joining a mix of regular and new volunteers were visitor Steve from the UK, Landscapes Board Reef Restoration Officer Alex Comino, and Leah George – one of the original Dolphin Watch crew from right back in the beginning 18 years ago! Gary Bell of KI Digicam, a long term sponsor and supporter and creator of a number of media materials for us from the very beginning, joined us on survey again with his latest photographic equipment and trademark enthusiasm, passion, energy and humour. Truly a happy celebration with 30+ Bottlenose dolphins relaxing in the shallows in critical habitat in the North Coast Mission Blue Hope Spot. A great day on the water with perfect conditions for data collection, topped off afterwards by happy celebrations and a delightful cake prepared by the Emu Bay Lavender Farm. www.emubaylavenderfarm.com.au
The 12th Birthday celebrations since expanding the project to Victor Harbor could have been a disappointing affair with the on water Survey 134 cancelled due to rough weather and a big swell, as happened for the 2022 Birthday survey. It was anything but due to the fantastic enthusiasm of the Citizen Science volunteers from around Encounter Bay. They came to celebrate at the wonderful Whalers Inn and enjoy the superb cake prepared by long term volunteer Gloria Jean, one of many she has created over the years. www.whalers.au
Our grateful thanks to all the wonderful Dolphin Watch volunteers of all ages, mentors, sponsors, friends and supporters over the years with particular acknowledgement of our wonderful Ecotourism operators KI Marine Adventures www.kimarineadventures.com.au and The Big Duck Boat Tours www.thebigduck.com.au for their unstinting support and faith in our Citizen Science project since 2005. Magnificent hospitality and workshop venues regularly provided by the Ozone Hotel Kangaroo Island www.ozonehotelki.com.au and the Victor Harbor Visitor Centre / SA Whale Centre www.visitvictorharbor.com has been a special treat providing a Dolphin Watch “Home Away from Home!
Looking forward to the rest of an exciting year … and another 18 years working with amazing dear souls on “all things dolphin”!
Over a number of workshops in the Victor Harbor Visitors Centre Minke Room in December 2022 and February 2023 we were treated to wonderful hospitality provided by Manager Cathy Riddell, staff and volunteers with numerous Dolphin Watch volunteers and visitors joining us. www.visitvictorharbor.com
In February Eleni Atsikbasis – Mission Blue www.missionblue.org Hope Spot Champion of the Avlaki Gulf Hope Spot in Lesvos, Greece with interested friends, were keen to learn all about our project and Eleni shared wonderful images and information about @healinglesvos www.healinglesvos.org and her inspiring work.
Victor Harbor Council’s Tara Butler popped in and later a visit from Caroline Horn from ABC Adelaide proved very fruitful.
Discussions with Renee Newman and Ali Bloomfield from Fleurieu Marine Education in December and February, offering support and collaborations were very positive. www.fleurieumarineeducation.com.au
Ongoing data editing, collation and analysis from our monthly Citizen Science surveys on the fantastic Big Duck Boat Tours www.thebigduck.com.au plus volunteers generously welcomed to collect data on regular marine tours, was undertaken as a major focus throughout.
In April 2011 we expanded Dolphin Watch to Victor Harbor working with The Big Duck and right from the very beginning the SA Whale Centre welcomed and supported us and made us feel very much at home with regular workshops, meetings, presentations etc.
Officially opened on December 14th the new centre is a wonderful space designed to perform its multi-function as a Tourism Office, Interpretive Centre, a hub for locals to access resources and whale sighting information services of the SA Whale Centre.
It was great to be back surrounded by the historic centre, the old Railway Goods Shed and its wonderful community feeling.
Hearty congratulations and best wishes to the Victor Harbor Council and everyone involved in the redevelopment and exciting new directions for this magnificent facility.
Our grateful thanks for the special welcome and delightful hospitality over many days!
What an absolute delight to go back to Dashwood Bay on Survey 228 on January 9th with wonderful volunteers, old and new……right in the middle of the magnificent Mission Blue www.missionblue.org Kangaroo Island North Coast Hope Spot!
It had been a long break since our previous Dolphin Watch survey on Kangaroo Island due to weather impacts and lengthy delays with KI Marine Adventures’ installation of 2 new jet engines….39 weeks and 2 days! www.kimarineadventures.com.au
A group of between 50 to 60 Bottlenose dolphins with 4 calves, including 2 newly born, was the delightful outcome and to see them so at ease and peacefully resting in this extraordinary critical habitat was heartwarming.
KI Marine Adventures’ newly refurbished boat with 2 fantastic new Audi V8 jet engines performed brilliantly and provided a perfect platform for excellent photographic identification research to be undertaken. Congratulations, very best wishes …and thankyou Skipper Andrew Neighbour!!!
The future for our longitudinal research efforts is bright and makes our efforts to achieve the best possible protection for this incredibly essential habitat even more important for the future of the dolphins and indeed the planet itself.
Welcome refreshments at the KI Brewery www.kibeer.com.au after the survey enabled a happy debriefing and special welcome to the wonderful new volunteers who have come on board and want to help!
A fantastic start to a wonderful New Year!
Our grateful thanks to all our wonderful mentors, volunteers, sponsors and supporters who have helped and supported us in any way over the years!!
S122 in December 2012 to Dashwood Bay in the Mission Blue www.missionblue.org North Coast Hope Spot was unique. Every one of the Citizen Science volunteers felt we were privileged to witness the coming together of 2 large groups of Bottlenose dolphins, participating in apparent mourning, grieving behaviours for one of their own….tiny little Angel, Tiki’s new calf.
We had not confirmed Tiki, with a distinctive dorsal fin, catalogued in 2006 at North Cape as female. What a tragic way to find out. Observing wildlife can be exciting, joyful and uplifting but also provides moments of great poignancy and grief.
Approaching the bay we noticed dolphins acting differently, slowly zigzagging in a tight group in a purposeful manner out to sea. In the front Tiki was carrying something in her mouth, a large fish, small shark, or similar. On closer inspection via binoculars Skipper Andrew Neighbour realised Tiki was carrying an emaciated body of a young calf. To the distress of all we realised we were observing a “funeral procession” in human terms, with a fellow mammal mother taking her dead child out to sea surrounded by her grieving pod.
The grief was palpable. Years later it is etched in our minds – extraordinary animal connectedness, empathy, and compassion of common sentience. In December 2015 we were delighted to record Tiki with an active new calf at North Cape. We called him/her Gabriel. We often think of Tiki and her calves and wonder how and where they are, and hope they are thriving.
Back on the water on wonderful KI Marine Adventures www.kimarineadventures.com.au next week for S228 – what a special start to the New Year it would be to see Tiki and a healthy calf or juvenile again!
A Mission Blue Hope Spot is any special place that is critical to the health of the ocean – Earth’s blue heart. Hope Spots are about recognizing, empowering and supporting individuals and communities around the world in their efforts to protect the ocean.
The extraordinary and magnificent biodiversity of Kangaroo Island’s surrounding seas and the Great Southern Reef was brought to global attention during the Mission Blue “Hope in Australia” Webinar on September 14th 2022 featuring the ten Hope Spots around Australia’s coastline.
Stefan Andrews of Ocean Imaging www.theocean.com.au and Tony Bartram of Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch spoke about the Great Southern Reef and Kangaroo Island’s North Coast respectively, about the challenges they face, conservation wins and how the community at large can assist in preserving these exceptionally diverse and important habitats and the lives that depend on them, including our own.
The challenges offered by a rapidly changing climate, plastic pollution, ill considered developments and the many impacts which flow from landbased human impacts were front and centre in all the Hope Spot presentations but consistent throughout was a sense of hope if the global community draws together and collaborates for the welfare of the oceans and themselves.
The live event recording is linked on Mission Blue’s website under Events.
THANKYOU so much to magnificent Mission Blue and all the Australian Hope Spot Champions for sharing hope in Australia!
Sydney Coast Hope Spot @oceanloversfestival, Gold Coast Bay Hope Spot, Houtman Abrolhos Hope Spot @humpbacks-andhighrises , Great Southern Reef Hope Spot @greatsouthernreef, Exmouth Gulf and Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area Hope Spot @oceanwise_au, Salisbury Island Hope Spot @finding_salisbury, Great Barrier Reef Hope Spot @citizensgbr, Fish Rock Hope Spot @shalisesoceansupport and Kangaroo Island North Coast Hope Spot @kivhdolphinwatch.
Our 12th National Science Week http://www.scienceweek.net.au event focussed on our core business of longitudinal Citizen Science dolphin research involving community volunteers of all ages, monitoring Common Bottlenose dolphins and Shortbeaked Common dolphins since 2005. We highlighted and celebrated the wonderful volunteer effort and support and contributions of community data input, supplementing boat-based and land-based survey effort over the years in the region. Community volunteers participated in a dolphin monitoring survey and data analysis workshops on Kangaroo Island and in Victor Harbor, South Australia.
Consistent monitoring of a range of sites injects extensive data regarding numbers, behaviours, aggregations etc, informing current data sets and increasing veracity plus knowledge and understandings. Particular focus is on known and new dolphins identified with respect to home range, movement patterns and migratory pathways.
Data collected is used to inform management practices in collaboration with scientific entities and government agencies with an aim to strengthen protection and conservation mechanisms for the dolphins in our regional waters. It is also made available to scientists globally to increase our understandings of these iconic marine mammals.
A small but enthusiastic group of Citizen Scientist volunteers gathered at the monthly data analysis workshop at the Ozone Hotel http://www.ozonehotelki.com.au on August 12th launching Science Week. Following tradition the workshop featured the Science Week Brain Break Morning Tea and quiz, an enjoyable event overseen once again by volunteer / Quizmaster Extraordinaire Mike Cosgrove.
A series of KI / VH Dolphin Watch workshops held at the Victor Harbor Library and Visitor Information Centre for National Science Week from August 16th took on an international feel when PhD Candidate Alicia Garcia from Valencia in Spain, participated in the data analysis and collation being undertaken. Her proposed study dovetails perfectly with Dr Rebecca Souter’s “Investigating Threats to Dolphin Health Project” at Adelaide University which Dolphin Watch is supporting.
A delicious celebratory luncheon at Whalers, following an on water research survey aboard The Big Duck Boat Tours www.thebigduck.com.au gave the Citizen Science volunteers an opportunity to reflect upon the role Science plays in everyday life. In a short address reminiscent of his offering in Dolphin Watch’s acknowledgement at the 2021 SA Science Awards, project Coordinator Tony Bartram acknowledged the outstanding data collection efforts of all the volunteers over the past 11 years in Encounter Bay and 17 years on Kangaroo Island. Special note was made of the superb efforts of Victor Harbor Manager Nedra Haines who has been there since the beginning.
The organisers were delighted to welcome the Fleurieu Sun Newspaper Editor Michael Simmons to the second day of workshops and appreciate his interest and support very much! http://www.fleurieusun.com.au
It was a pleasure and privilege to be asked to join a wonderful group of ocean advocates and marine conservationists to participate in the World Oceans Day Blue Water Summit http://bluewatersummit.com/ on June 8th presented by the Blue Water Institute https://www.bluewaterinstitute.org/ in a delightful setting at the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron.
Together with all the speakers and panellists we were able focus on the myriad issues facing the marine environment and possible approaches to meeting these challenges.
The globally webcast event, an initiative of William Ehmcke and Greg Reitmann of the Blue Water Institute, will become an annual event following the success of this inaugural magnificent and illuminating 8 hour broadcast of live streaming focussing on the Great Southern Ocean. The scope of the presentations and their far reaching implications and possibilities are obvious through such an amazing programme and inspiring speakers.
Our grateful thanks and hearty congratulations to William Ehmcke and all concerned!
The Islander Newspaper on line story – June 21st 2022