However, this loveable creature is rather shy. Which is why the crew of the Sea Life Safari vessels have clocked up considerable experience in knowing where to look.
The porpoises living around Padstow
One of the six species of dolphins and whales you can spot on a Padstow Sealife Safari is the Harbour Porpoise. This is the only porpoise that can be found in European waters.
It is a relatively small creature. In fact, one of the smallest mammals living in the sea. The Harbour Porpoise has a dark grey back, lighter grey sides and a distinctive almost white underside. It also has a rolling-style of swim and its dorsal fin often sticks out from the water, which is how it can be spotted.
However, this loveable creature is rather shy. Which is why the crew of the Sealife Safari vessels have clocked up considerable experience in knowing where to look.
Even with their local knowledge and seagoing experience, our staff struggle to count the resident pod of porpoises that live and feed off the coast of Padstow. It is estimated that there are around 8-10 in the group at any one time.
This is chiefly because porpoises are unlikely to come as close to the boat as dolphins. This shyness makes a sighting even more special and memorable.
While being as respectful and caring as possible, the crew try to get close. In which case, you may be able to hear the ‘puffing’ noise that happens when a porpoise breaks the surface of the water and starts to breathe through its blowhole. This led to them acquiring the cute nickname of “puffer” or even “puffer pigs”.
More porpoise facts
Harbour porpoise grow to around 1.5 to 1.9 metres, surviving on a diet of fish, squid, crabs and shrimp. An interesting fact is that with this particular species of mammal, the male tends to be smaller in size than the female.
Another reason they are trickier to spot than dolphins is that in shallower water they tend to swim as near to the seabed as possible. They can move along at speeds of around about 25 km per hour. Harbour Porpoise have been known to travel inland up river estuaries too.
This species of sea mammal tend to be loners. They forage for food solo and only gather in small pods. They live for around 15 years, and pregnancy lasts around 10 months.
Best way to see porpoise off Cornwall
The crews of our two-hour sea life safari boat trips will always try to keep on track to see the Harbour porpoises that live off these shores and will alert you to sightings.
If you have a particular passion for porpoise, then why not charter one of our skippered boats. That way, our experienced staff can give you the best possible chance of getting up close and personal with a Harbour Porpoise.