Captain Bradley Schmoll encounters dolphins in the Kiawah River


The moment we stepped on the boat we saw a pod of six dolphins, including two toddlers, swimming by the dock. They were very active with tails splashing while having a snack strand feeding. We slowly followed the group towards Fiddler Creek, keeping an unobtrusive distance of at least 75 feet.  Eventually, the pod entered and finally disappeared into Fiddler Creek. This was our cue to return to the main channel and continue towards the CS’s Inlet.

As we approached the split near Oyster Creek, we spotted another pod of five dolphins. This group seemed to be more interested in our boat and us. Several dolphins darted back and forth, from side to side, just a couple feet beneath the boat; all very clearly visible at this shallow depth. This continued for several minutes as we sat idle in the boat with the motor disengaged.  Another dolphin from the same pod swam up slowly to port stern. It hovered for about a minute or two, at a depth of no more than two feet below the surface of the water. As we looked down directly at her, she positioned herself so we could see her long white belly. She continuously “whistled” and “clicked” the entire time she peered right back at us directly into our eyes. This was incredible, to say the least. She eventually went on her way and as her clicking and whistling sounds slowly faded we said goodbye to her beautiful and striking image.

Almost immediately after having had such a rare and very close encounter with the very curious female earlier, we were treated once again with strand feeding, flapping tails, and playingful dolphins.  We stayed for a while and finally returned to the dock.  No question, this excursion is the most memorable this year.  I only wish I knew what she was trying to communicate.