Chanonry Point is a narrow peninsula, with a shingle beach below the lighthouse where people gather to watch the dolphins, soon after low tide. The dolphins can also often be seen from Fort George (Historic Scotland), opposite Chanonry point, or from the North Kessock area, or from dolphin watching trips running from Avoch harbour or Nairn (but please ensure the boat operator is accredited as following the Dolphin Space Programme, which works with boat operators to ensure the dolphins are protected and that the boat operators do not disrupt their behaviour or get too close).
We’ve been watching the dolphins at Chanonry point for many years now. You need to check tide times, and when watching the dolphins ensure you also watch your feet, as the tide comes in quickly and you can suddenly find yourself on a small shingle island, with a short paddle back to the rest of the peninsula! Wellies are worth considering, as are also warm clothes and waterproofs unless it’s the warmest summer day, as the beach is very exposed and sudden squalls can freeze and / or soak the unprepared! Lens cloths and rain-covers for your camera are also a good plan. You spend a lot of time watching, then suddenly seeing a different dolphin to the one you’d been watching leaping out of the water, and having to swing round to frame that dolphin, focus and shoot in a couple of seconds. Expect a lot of photos of large splashes and disappearing tails, or the perfect leaping dolphin… with its head or tail cut off by the edge of the frame because of a lack of time to compose the shot!
However, with practice, photos are possible, and it is an incredible experience just to see the dolphins, not to mention witnessing the exuberance of the acrobatics of wild dolphins.
A lot of information about whales and dolphins is available from the WDC (including the opportunity to sponsor a Moray Firth dolphin!), and their Spey Bay centre (open April to October) offers the opportunity to see the dolphins, as well as watching osprey fishing in the bay.