Watch: Dubai resident goes fishing, gets surprise 'happy water dance' from pod of dolphins

The friendly aquatic mammals put up quite a show, clearly enjoying the weather as much as everyone else


Ajanta Paul

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Published: Thu 16 Feb 2023, 2:16 PM

Last updated: Fri 17 Feb 2023, 1:19 AM

When Dubai resident Mostafa Zabadani went fishing near Atlantis, The Palm, earlier this week, he was hoping for a good catch. What he captured instead is a memory he will treasure for the rest of his life.

The Lebanese expat and his friends were around 2-3 kilometres offshore when, to Mostafa's surprise, a pod of 10-15 bottlenose dolphins suddenly showed up, swimming near his chartered boat. Mesmerised by their rhythmic 'happy water dance', the group quickly put down their fishing rods and picked up their phones to film the incredible sighting.

"It was a beautiful sight, almost breathtaking, as the pod popped in and out of the water with the scenic Marina, high-rises of JBR and Ain Dubai in the backdrop," said the 42-year-old owner of Rails Gaming Cafe in JLT.

Mostafa shared the video clips with Khaleej Times, in which you can see the dolphins putting up quite a show, just metres away from the boat, clearly enjoying the weather as much as everyone else:

A resident of Dubai for the last 10 years, Mostafa says he often goes out on these early-morning fishing expeditions on 'Water and Beyond' fishing charter boat from Dubai harbour. Over the years, he had some lucky encounters — but each time, the experience is 'surreal'.

"To see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat is fulfilling. Sometimes, they're very playful and follow the boat and jump around." Here is a second clip, with the rising sun casting a golden glow over the mesmerising scene.

Dolphin sightings have been previously reported in Dubai, but it is rare for a pod to swim this close to the shoreline.

Last year in December, Paris Norris, the host of the television show 'Guy in Dubai', posted a video on his Instagram showing around 100 dolphins near his boat.

He wrote, "We were accompanied for this training session by a pod of over 100 dolphins who were curious about our slickly designed Ocean rowing boat. Maybe even slightly jealous of the aquadynamics, they showed off with some of their acrobatics and joined us for part of our training."

The rower said that he had never seen that many dolphins before in the 13 years that he had been living in Dubai.

Report sightings

According to the UAE Dolphin Project, although continuous monitoring of the UAE coastline is not in place, dolphins are regularly seen in several areas. At least three species of dolphins are reported to frequent UAE coastal waters — the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, and the rare finless porpoise.

Over 10 species of whales and dolphins have been reported, but the Gulf region is considered "data deficient". Reporting sightings helps with local research, says the Project. Residents can do so by sending an SMS to +971 566717164 or an email to:


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