Untamed Lowcountry

He was boating off the coast of Hilton Head. Then, he saw hundreds of dolphins

SC man spots hundreds of dolphins swimming off Hilton Head coast

Bluffton, SC local, Ryan Trexler was pleasantly surprised when he spotted a pod of dolphins 10 miles off the Hilton Head coast.
Up Next
Bluffton, SC local, Ryan Trexler was pleasantly surprised when he spotted a pod of dolphins 10 miles off the Hilton Head coast.

Hilton Head Island is quite the place to see wildlife.

There are alligators walking across golf courses, rare turtles nesting on the beach, and great white sharks swimming far off the island’s coast.

So it’s not surprising for beach-goers and boaters to catch a glimpse of dolphins jumping in the waves.

It is rare, however, to see hundreds of them at once.

dolphin 1.jpg
Dolphins spotted about 10 miles off the coast of Hilton Head Island. Ryan Trexler submitted

Bluffton local Ryan Trexler was stunned when he was out on a friend’s boat about 10 miles off the Hilton Head coast earlier this week and saw a large pod of spotted dolphin.

He said there were anywhere between 100 and 200 dolphins.

“I’ve never seen so many dolphins in my life,” Trexler said.

He said it was like a scene out of BBC show “Blue Planet.”

“They just appeared all around us,” he said, adding that the “surreal” experience lasted about half an hour.

Last year, Hilton Head was named one of the “10 Best Dolphin Sighting Destinations in North America” by The Travel Channel.

dolphin 2.jpg
Dolphins spotted about 10 miles off the coast of Hilton Head Island. Ryan Trexler submitted

Although dolphins are exciting to see, it’s illegal to feed them. Advocates have said it can be detrimental to the dolphins’ health, according to previous reporting. They said dolphins who learn that boats are a source of food put themselves in danger when they come close to boat propellers.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in its marine life viewing guidelines, recommends dolphin-watchers stay at least 50 yards away from them.

Among the other guidelines:

Limit your viewing time to 30 minutes or less.

If approached, put your vessel’s engine in neutral, allow the animal to pass and move away slowly.

Avoid excessive vessel speed or sudden changes in speed or direction.

Never pursue or follow marine wildlife.

Related stories from Hilton Head Island Packet

Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
Support my work with a digital subscription
SUBSCRIBE TODAY
  Comments