TURSIOPS (non profit organization), created in 1993, studies the behaviors of dolphins
and in particular the so-called “ambassador dolphins” that enter into contact and
sometimes communicate with humans.
The new project called “Immersion with dolphins” aims to monitor several groups of
dolphins in the Red Sea that are particularly interacting with humans. Written observations
are made during the encounters in order to participate in the study program that
the “Dolphin Watch Alliance” conducts since 2004. In addition, video footage is routinely
taken for the “TURSIOPS Group” to record human-dolphin encounters.
IMPORTANT: for the respect of dolphins we have only 4 - 8 guests on board.
The “TURSIOPS Group” organizes these missions with Tursiops aduncus dolphins. These
“eco-voluntary experiences” actively participate in the current study by Eric DEMAY,
dolphin specialist since 1992.
In the Red Sea there is a 90% chance of meeting dolphins, which to my belief is the
area that offers the best opportunity to meet with the ceteceans. If they don’t sleep,
often the dolphins actually come our way and seek play. My idea is to systematically
meet with dolphins in the water and thereby accepting their way of life. I do not
envisage meeting with animals without putting ourselves at their level; we have to
accept to share their everyday life in their habitat and we have to think of ourselves
as honored guests. We have to adapt. This way, the animals will feel more comfortable
and real interaction can be built. You therefore have to enter the water! We have
life vests on the boat for people who feel insecure in open water. I am taking HD
underwater photos and videos, especially during the interactions. The other images
are shared with the local scientists and you can also participate to this study with
your footage. More than 160 dolphins have been recorded and photographically identified
but there could be new dolphins or newborn dolphins, and the photo identification
of the fins regularly have to be updated as they change over time.
I did not choose to work with dolphins by accident. I have met a lot of these animals
almost everywhere in the world and it required favorable conditions for real encounters:
easy contact with dolphins, warm waters and good underwater visibility.
The dolphins of the Hurghada region which we study belong to the Tursiops aduncus
species with whom there is a high possibility of communication via play or other
means. The Tursiops, at least those that I know personally, often come to meet and
engage with us. Nevertheless, a group may refuse contact due to vital reasons (sleep,
hunting, education, caring of newborns…). This has to be respected of course. These
cetaceans really seek contact, which can lead to extraordinary situations. On my
first day with them at the “Dolphin’s House” spot, a female dolphin brought me a
piece of coral that she had fetched at the bottom of the sea.
This situation repeated itself with another dolphin during my second stay. During
the “BIG BLUE” experience that I organized in Hurghada in April 2013, two dolphins
brought corals and shellfish to the participants!
During the week on the boat we will move from lagoon to lagoon looking for dolphins.
At the Hurghada resorts, everything is available and at Egyptian prices! The shops
are open 24/24, the pharmacies are well equipped and there are several supermarkets
where you will find everything, while diving shops also offer very good material.
If you would like to take personal photo or video souvenirs, we recommend that you
bring a small waterproof camera that will do nicely. GoPro waterproof cameras are
great for this kind of experience. The videos on the internet from previous experiences
have been taken with GoPro cameras. They are somewhat expensive but certainly worth
Please avoid bringing large luggage as they are difficult to squeeze into the boat,
and try to bring soft bags.