Flipping incredible: Photographer's five-year tour of Britain to capture dolphins at play


Friendly dolphin Dave touches base with a man in his kayak in Folkestone, Kent

A British photographer has travelled the UK and Ireland taking incredible shots of wild dolphins at play.

Terry Whittaker has spent the last five years snapping the rarely-seen animals as they lark about in the water.

His collection shows the fun-loving creatures zipping through the waves and performing incredible acrobatic stunts.

Some of his heart-warming shots also show one lone dolphin enjoying fun and games with swimmers and kayakers.

The adorable animal became an instant hit when she first turned up in the water near Sandgate, Kent.

She became so used to visitors that she would let them ride on her back and swim alongside her.

Holidaymakers rush into the sea to interact with dolphin Dave

She even encouraged sunbathers in to the water by swimming up and down in the shallows.

It was this dolphin, who became known to locals as 'Dave' who inspired Mr Whittaker to begin photographing the animals in UK and Irish waters.

The 55-year-old, who lives in Sandgate, said: 'I had photographed marine mammals all over the world before but had never paid much attention to those around our shores.

'Dave just turned up on my doorstep one day. She was a lone dolphin and it's very unusual to see them so I just started photographing her.

'She was very friendly and became more so as she became accustomed to humans. She became very tame and she would allow swimmers to grab on to her.

'She also loved kayaks, she would sometimes push them around or bump them.

Mammals out of water: Two Bottlenose dolphins jump into the air at the Moray Firth, Scotland

'I was interested in people's reaction and attitudes to wildlife so I took pictures of Dave almost every day for a year.

'People went crazy for her, they flocked to the beach to see her.

'Some who saw her every day were respectful towards her but others did crowd around.
Sometimes there would be crowds of people trying to get in to the water.

'It was a worry for marine biologists, they tried to stop people swimming with her.

'Although people often see swimming with dolphins as a great experience it can be bad for the animal.

Dave swims in the English Channel with a group children

'Not only does it get them to used to human contact, it also puts them at risk of getting hurt. They can be injured by passing boats or become tangled in fishing lines.'

When Dave moved on from the Kent coastline Mr Whittaker travelled to Moray Firth in Scotland and the West Irish coast in search of more dolphins.

Since then he has returned to Scotland every year.

He said: 'There aren't as many people about in Scotland and Ireland so it's not as busy or crazy as it was in Kent.

Fish out of water: A lone dolphin passes a fish to a swimmer at Folkestone, Kent

'I saw pods which ranged from three dolphins to as many as 20. It's just amazing to see them.

'I still go to Scotland every year. There are big pods of dolphins up there, you can spot them from the shore. It's incredible to be just three or feet away from them.

'I've seen them catching fish and some jump as high as nine feet from the water. It's an amazing spectacle that happens right in front of your face.'

Mammal out of Water: A Bottlenose dolphin jumps out the water in Moray Firth, Scotland

source: dailymail