Dolphins In Kuching

There are dolphins in Kuching.
It’s true. Not kidding. I neber bluff u ppl one.
Yes, there are indeed dolphins in Kuching. That’s a fact. I didn’t know it and I think most people in Kuching never realised either. Can you believe it? The ironic thing is that it took a Brit to tell me that there are dolphins in my own backyard when I’ve lived here for 16 years of my life. How embarrassing right?

One thing though. If you’re hoping that the dolphins we have in Kuching are ANYTHING like the ones you see on Gold Coast that can jump through hoops, do tricks and win Olympic gold medals in gymnastics; then sorry lah my friend. You’ll be sorely disappointed.
The dolphins we have in Kuching are Irrawaddy Dolphins. Part of the reason why not many people bother about them is because they are possibly the most boring dolphin species EVER.

Look at it. They are nothing like those dolphins you see in Hollywood movies which are all playful, cute and cuddly. Our Kuching dolphins are so damn freaking ugly they are like the Furong Jiejie of dolphins.

When Francis told me about it, I was skeptical.
Yes, Francis, there are dolphins in Kuching. And there are penguins eating kolo mee in Sekama too.
I thought this Francis must be nuts. Maybe he kayak too much, his wife not happy and whacked him in the head with the kayak paddle. Nonetheless I was still interested and curious about these “Kuching dolphins”.

Francis proposed that we go dolphin watching on a kayak and we agreed to meet up during the Tuesday public holiday. Joining us were Peggy from World Conservation Society in New York and the dolphin expert Wayne from BorneoTravel.com.
Together, we are the Oarsome Foursome. Hur hur.

The weather that day was simply perfect. And it turns out we don’t even have to travel far to go dolphin-watching.

Wayne brought us to an abandoned private beach in Santubong – just 40 minutes away from the city and a short distance away from the Damai Beach resort area. Dolphins in Santubong? Now I’m even more skeptical.
By the way, this marks the second time I kayak, and the first time I had to paddle a one-person kayak into an open river.

Someone in the background doesn’t like me. 🙁

After a false start, I managed to get my body into the kayak. Along with two muddy feet.

We were paddling aimlessly for about half an hour or so in the Santubong River and there wasn’t any signs of dolphins around. I was disappointed, though I wasn’t exactly expecting to see any to begin with.
Irrawaddy Dolphins are after all listed as an endangered species, so it’s likely less than 0.1% of the Kuching population has seen one. If you can spot one in Kuching, can buy 4D liaw.

I joked to Francis telling him that if we couldn’t take photos of the dolphins, I’ll just photoshop some up so people would believe us. Then we heard it.
“Over there!” Peggy yelled out to us. We stared at the general direction she was pointing at, and we saw this.

We were so excited we nearly creamed our pants.
The four of us quickly paddled towards the dolphins, probably scaring them off in the process. It wasn’t until much later when we learnt how to approach the dolphins cautiously that they begin to warm up to us. And when they come in groups, boy, do they come in large groups.

At one point in the water, we were quietly sitting on our kayaks and four different groups of dolphins were encircling us. Each group probably around 10 dolphins. There were no propellers, no noise, no sounds of paddles hitting the water.

Just the four of us, silently watching dolphins swimming from all around us, rolling up gracefully onto the surface, sprouting jets of water off their backs before diving back down again. They look so tame, so harmless in the nature.

It was an amazing experience of sight and sound. Words cannot do justice to how magical it was to be so close those rare and elusive dolphins of Sarawak in the wild. And I take pride in knowing that I’m one of the first few to be watching these gentle mammals from a kayak.
To me, it sure beats watching stupid dolphins jumping around in Sea World.

For more information on dolphins in Sarawak, visit Wayne’s blog. Or try your hand at kayaking with Francis Ho.
Kuching is a great place. There’s no other cities in the world I know of that allows you to watch wild dolphins frolicking about in their natural habitat without travelling miles away into the countryside. For now, we still have the privilege of watching these endangered dolphins off the shores of Santubong.

That’s a privilege we should make full use of. At least until they decide to build more resorts around the area and scare all the dolphins away with pollution.

101 Replies to “Dolphins In Kuching”

  1. wow, i love dolphins…so i love this entry very much… too bad they are not that visible in the video…

  2. Wow! I read about this in Uncle’s blog last nite…now I’m convinced that I must go & have a look for myself ‘cos I luv dolphins. :p
    Thanx Kenny!

  3. “To me, it sure beats watching stupid dolphins jumping around in Sea World.” Oi there, you creature with no brain, who are you calling stupid?? A little love here, buddy. Have you seen our act? Have you really???!! We work our arses off to entertain simple minded folk like you and you have the audacity to call US stupid? Try doing those stunts yourself, why don’t you? I bet you can’t even wipe your own arse without calling for your mummy. You pompous arrogant know-it-all smartasses sicken me!!! And why you’re called a smart ass when you actually have a really stinky hairy dirty ass, I don’t know! That’s right, your arse IS your brain. Ya. A little respect, man. Dolphins have feelings, too.

  4. Wow…looks awesome. In spite of the dolphin kinda resembling a d***head in your earlier pic.
    Wonder why there’s still comments on being the ‘first to post’, and now a top10 proclaimation. Wonder if they’re usually from readers in Malaysia/S’pore? Only thing missing is those comments asking why you are up so early.

  5. walao, i didnt even know they were dolphins now and then… and i’ve pratically lived in kuching my whole life

  6. Are you sure it wasn’t the ……Loch Ness Monster, Kenny? 😉
    I beleive you, that their were dolphins ,really I do, but it’s hard to see them. But really, I do beleive you…….yep 😉 😉 😉
    I’ll just write this down in my “OBSERVATION” book.

  7. That’s so cool to see real dolphins of the wild frolicking in the open sea….
    But surely this cant be photoshopped like what you mentioned earlier rite? =s

  8. Hey great post. I must visit Sarawak one day, heard from my frens the natural reserve are fantastic and now those beautiful endangered dolphins. Was suprised to know Kuching have them, thought they only exists in Cambodia or Myammar.
    Enriching post
    tata

  9. Hey great post. I must visit Sarawak one day, heard from my frens the natural reserve are fantastic and now those beautiful endangered dolphins. Was suprised to know Kuching have them, thought they only exists in Cambodia or Myammar.
    Enriching post
    tata

  10. I’m just afraid that something bad is going to happen. We all Chinese know Chinese are ke po group..so after all these ads came out, i believe the whole Kuching city residents will rush to see these innocent dolphins (who just want to live peaceful lives out there w/o any disturbance). We’ll see…more are coming up~~

  11. Kenny said….”Our Kuching dolphins are so damn freaking ugly they are like the Furong Jiejie of dolphins.”
    Kenny…..FYI, there is no such thing as an ugly dolphin.

  12. You might regret putting up this post!
    I hear next week the DPS (Dolphins Poachers Society) are holding a retreat at Kuching, after reading this post! 🙂

  13. oh cool, its just the right time you told us this, i’m in bintulu now, i think i’m gonna contact unca francis and head down to Kuching this May 🙂

  14. Kenny, you captured things perfectly. Thanks for linking me up with FH20 and glad you were there. The most boring dolphins in the world they are but your writing and humour makes them interesting.
    Kessa, good point but people are already going out to watch the dolphins, and have been since 1998, mostly on organised tours that are responsibly run.

  15. where’s e dolphin in ur video? I saw some stuff bobbing up and down far away.
    I was shock to hear that you can find dolphine in the wild. Maybe I should go check out some spots in Sg, maybe there are too… Hmm….

  16. where’s e dolphin in ur video? I saw some stuff bobbing up and down far away.
    I was shock to hear that you can find dolphine in the wild. Maybe I should go check out some spots in Sg, maybe there are too… Hmm….

  17. Nice one there, Kenny.
    Personally I’d rather see dolphins in the wild rather than performing silly stunts at Sea World.
    Oh, and for those who say they can’t see anything in the video, if you look closely in the distance you can see things breaking the surface for a second or so. Those are the Irrawaddy dolphins; what were you expecting, leaping and jumping? These aren’t the famous bottlenosed dolphins you know… and besides, nature documentaries make it look so freaking easy, when half the time they’re probably shooting from a hundred metres away with zoom lens. =)

  18. jfoll: Besides the Dolphin Lagoon in Sentosa (which I find to be a bit too small), if you go to the southern Islands near Hantu, Raffles Lighthouse and such, if you’re lucky you might be able to spot dolphins, probably Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins aka pink dolphins.

  19. yeah sarawak has dolphins… i remember camping somewhere around bintulu… i forgot what the resort was called but we went dolphin watching too

  20. Makes for interesting reading esp. when one is familiar with 3 of the main characters.
    Have sighted these lovely creatures many years ago on a jet-ski trip from Santubong to Kuching at the rivermouth. Glad they’re still around (or their descendants anyway.)
    FYI the beach where you took off from (Pasir Pandak) belongs to a friend, Datuk Effendi Norwawi, so be careful not to be caught for trespassing on private property next time.
    He used to employ a live-in jaga who apparently is no longer there.
    Happy Kayaking!

  21. I didn’t see a single dolphin in your video, hahaha. Anyway, nice post! There are dolphins in Malaysian waters. I saw a group of about 6 dolphins when i was travelling from Perhentian Island to Redang Island off Terengganu. I know how it feels to see them in the wild! It’s definitely better than seeing them performing in captivity isn’t it?

  22. I don’t see any video… =( is there something wrong with my computer or something?
    but the dolphin is pretty cute!

  23. HAHaa.. Why you insult the dolphin by replace fu rong jie jie’s head onto it?? AIKS….
    and i was waiting to see dolphin in the video, but cannot find any… haha..

  24. Can I critic a bit about this entry? I know you try to be a little humorous. But begining of the entry spoilt a bit. It goes well without the furong jiejie. REally.
    Anyway, another place to catch a glimps of dolphine is in Pangkor. Lots of them!

  25. hey now that u put this entry on your blog, more people will go and take a look at the dolphins at wherever place u said, or at least try to look for them. you think that’s right?! its a damage to the dolphins’ natural habitat and what if there’re ppl who are gg to make use of this endangered species..you just want to make your blog attractive right? do you even care about the dolphins??? this is irresponsible writing

  26. =]…thoroughly enjoyed reading e post. sure it sparks interest up a mile in kuching ecotourism, however i’m seriously worried and hope there will be tourist in-flow regulating measures in place if the influence of your blog lives up to its ratings…(imagine people having picnics there and littering and all)
    poor dolphins. T(00)T
    for those interested in visiting Santubong, do consider reading this:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12113285/site/newsweek/
    sure u’ll all make conscientious tourists
    ^(00)^

  27. ur post here will harm the dolphin’s…more n more ppl will try to c them and eventually disturbing them..

  28. eh e comment b4 me previously is i think rather overboard.
    afterall no harm in learning to appreciate such natural beauty of our world and quote,
    tourists can serve to energise conservation and preservation efforts(if tourism is sustainable)
    perhaps we shud have a lil faith in humanity….. or kennysia readers 🙂

  29. “Yes, Francis, there are dolphins in Kuching. And there are penguins eating kolo mee in Sekama too.”
    First it was kayaking through the rainforest and now kayaking with dolphins … so are you gonna believe me when I say there are mermaids at Bako too? 😉
    Heehee

  30. In Malaysia we have a lot of treasures, but most people don’t realise it and don’t appreciate it.
    Anyway, thanks for the post. Thanks for making us aware that we TOO have dolphins in our very own water and that we should protect them. 🙂
    Cheers.

  31. Actually it’s very difficult to capture wild SWIMMING/MOVING dolphins on normal digital video/camera because they are not like whales. They do not stay above the water for air nor will they pause in mid-air and wait for you to press your shutter.
    They tend to swim very fast and they are very playful, i.e., swim around you and your boat. In another words, they are constantly MOVING and they stay in the water.
    And thus, my question to you is:
    I know dolphin is a mammal and all, but…
    How do professional photographer capture a swimming fish in the ocean?
    (If you know the answer already, then you shouldn’t be too harsh on Kenny lor.)

  32. I saw dolphins off the coast of Terengganu too, on the boatride to pulau Redang. They were jumping out and into the water alongside our speedboat. Quite unbelievable initially..

  33. I’m from Kuching myself, been here over 15 years, and i have no clue that you can actually see dolphins in Santubong. Gee, now I am impressed.

  34. Recipe for Grilled Mustard-Crusted Dolphin
    8 oz. Dolphin Fillets
    Salt And Pepper — to taste
    2 Tbsp Butter — melted
    4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
    1/2 C Bread Crumbs
    1 Oz Chopped Fresh Herbs
    2 Tbsp Mustard Seeds
    Season dolphin with salt and pepper; rub with a little melted butter; reserve remaining butter.
    Over very hot grill (500°) cook dolphin only until grill marks appear. Remove from grill at once.
    Rub Dijon mustard on filet; top with mixture of remaining butter, bread crumbs, fresh herbs and mustard seeds. Bake in oven at 350° until dolphin is brown on top and moist in center.
    Makes 2 servings.
    Dinner anyone? *wink*

  35. Actually, dolphins are anything but gentle… Among other things, they commit infanticide and are vicious hunters. They are no differnt from other predatory creatures.

  36. kenny.. great that you’ve post up this blog entry, however, you may want to consider to put up a list dos and don’ts for would be travellers to that place.
    From your blog stats, 1% of your readers going to that place is enough to pose multiple threats to this already endangered species.
    Anyway, two thumbs up for great write up.

  37. hey kenny,
    you never go see any dolphins when you were in perth?
    I first saw dolphine in the Swan river 2 years ago, it was during winter, and I was on the river cruise. It was amazing !!
    Too bad i did not have a camera back then.

  38. Really? Dolphins in Swan River in Perth? I lived in Perth for 1.5 years and I passed by Swan River everyday when I went for work, but I did not get to see any dolphins there 🙁

  39. To all these people who are saying that I should be blamed for the extinction of dolphins because I posted this entry, don’t be stupid. You can’t just go out to Santubong expecting to see dolphins just like that.
    You gotta at least go out with an expert or a tour group like CPF. All these people are responsible humans and the tour groups are governed by law. Dolphins won’t die because you looked at them.
    Unless you’re Medusa

  40. hey dude,
    pak chu cheng is it? got so many dolphin pictures. put some chiobu up lar. cheh, this animal crap big turn off man.

  41. Omigod .. can’t believe there are dolphins in Kuching!! Thanx!!! 😉
    (feels like you uncovered one of the world’s greatest mysteries or something!!)

  42. theres dolphins at the start of the video swimming from the right to the left at the far end. theres also one right at the very end of the video..haha..tts all i can spot..i dun think wild dolphins leap into the air like those trained ones..swan river has dolphins????? i only know mandurah haf dolphins but din haf to chance to go take a look.

  43. Kenny should’nt compare the dolphins with that ugly bitch whose name sounds like some egg dish.
    The dolphins have pride and if they hear that they look like that rare female walrus, they’ll commit suicide in no time and beach themselves up that muddy shore of yours!

  44. i AM impressed!!!!!
    i knew it.. i knew malaysia is special and i knew that we oso have dolphins!!!!
    i really wanna go there…
    geee.. nice..
    kenny.. the human+fish pix is really a huge turnoff.. even dolphins puke.

  45. Hey guys gals, its true that there’s dolphins around. I’ve manage to see one at river mouth near Btg Sadong (across river from Kota Samarahan). But didn’t know that there’s more nearer to home… keep our rivers clean then!

  46. Some dolphins were racing by the side of our boat on our way out to Scuba Dive…somewhere off the coast of Santubong…That’s as much as I can say…to protect the Dolphins from nasty hunters and fisherman…. Cheers..
    – An “Underachiever”

  47. yes there are definitely dolphins around Bintulu! they are coastal dolphins. it is very interesting watching their behaviour. saw them before around Sabah water, heard them too!

  48. Hahahaha…the intro belly belly nice lah, make me laff like mad in the internet cafe. but i hv to agree, memang got dolphins at the santubong river estuary (the mouth of the liber lah)
    I saw them myself on my first tour as a toolist guide, i think i was more amazed than the toolists with me, and I got to see so many glimpses while the poor toolists in the boat didnt see any cos the dolphins were too fast play play in the water. Too bad for them who come thousand of miles not to see it.

  49. It is definitely a big surprise to know that we have so called dolphins in our backyard. Someday i gonna kayak with you guys to get a little closer to these rare mammals.
    Oceans and rivers have lots of secrets that await us to discover, you will never know what you will get.
    Cheers.

  50. there is something on the video…but the thing is, it’s quite far tho…. come on la… you expect kenny can take the video of the dols very near mehh???

  51. dolphin do exist in kuching. i experienced watching it accidentally on the way to bako national park using speedboat. while im gazing the beatiful view of nature, i notice there was a dolphin with a yellow mouth (or do we call it a beak) emerged on the water surface just beside the speed boat. at first i din realized it was a dolphin until my friends screamed “dolphin! dolphin!”. luckily it was not a croc.

  52. i saw dophine in kuantan, near the telok cempedak. anyone can tell me got dophine in the malaysia east coast or not?

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