Experience the ultimate wildlife close encounter: swimming with wild bottlenose dolphins in their natural environment.
|Start||Perth @ 06:30|
|Finish||Perth @ 13:00|
Swim with the Dolphins
The adventure begins with cruising Rockingham's sheltered bays and islands in search of any over 200 local dolphins that your crew have come to know as friends. Before long the skipper spots the first group of the day 'Found them'. An excited buzz takes over the boat as the crew ensures you're fully prepared to enter the water. 'Zip your wetsuits up, masks and snorkels on and make your way to the swim deck - it's time to get wet!' Sleek, silvery grey dorsal fins start breaking the surface of the water within metres of the back of the boat and the skipper give the command everyone's been waiting for - 'Go!'. Suddenly, you are surrounded by flashing grey torpedoes and the water is filled with whistles, splashes and laughter - both human and dolphin.
The Swim with Wild Dolphins tour is popular with people of all ages. You don't have to be a great swimmer to join in and no previous snorkeling experience is required- although it is helpful! Our crew conduct snorkelling lessons and have an excellent track record of helping nervous/ less experienced swimmers through the experience using aqua scooters to tow amongst the action.
You don't have to be an Olympic swimmer to join in and no previous snorkelling experience is required (although it is helpful)! Our professional and friendly crew conducts introductory snorkelling lessons and have an excellent track record of helping nervous/ less experienced swimmers through the experience. The tour is not recommended for children 6 years or younger unless the child has previous ocean experience and the parent is confident in their ability.
Please appreciate that these are wild encounters. The wildlife we visit are exceptionally consistent in their habits and successful encounters are extremely reliable (we work on a better than 99% success rate). Please remember we are visiting wild animals in their own environment. We ask you to approach each encounter with caution and respect, and to never presume that we have any control over their appearance or actions whatsoever.
|Rockingham (Val st Jetty)||07:30||11:00-15:00|
|Central Perth (Wellington st Tourist Coach Stand)||07:00||13:00-16:00|
|Perth CBD Hotels||06:40-7:00||13:00-16:00|
|Burswood Hotels (Intercont./Holiday Inn)||06:30||13:00-16:00|
Bottlenose dolphins are actually small whales, and belong to the group known as 'toothed whales'. They are air breathing mammals, so even though they live in the marine environment they must still come to the surface to breathe through the blowhole on top of their heads. The common bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) are so named because they have a short rounded snout or 'beak' that resembles a bottle.
Bottlenose dolphins are sleek and streamlined and can travel at speeds of up to 35 kilometres per hour. They have a prominent dorsal fin, which can be seen slicing through the water. Bottlenose dolphins vary in size, shape and colour depending on where they are found. In general dolphins have a dark grey back and a light grey belly. This helps to camouflage the animal so when potential predators (such as killer whales or sharks) look up from the deep, the light grey belly blends in with bright surface waters. When seen from above, the grey back blends in with the deep dark waters below. Bottlenose dolphin calves weigh around 15-30 kilograms at birth and around 70-130 centimetres long. They will grow up to seven times their original body weight in their first year. An adult will reach 2-4 metres and weigh between 150-650 kilograms. Bottlenose dolphins can live to over 30 years of age.
Bottlenose dolphins live in temperate and tropical seas all over the world. There is an inshore species that is often seen along the coast, in estuaries and even in rivers, and an offshore species that can be found in the open ocean.
Bottlenose dolphins eat around 15 kilograms of food per day consisting of a wide variety of fish, squid and octopuses. The offshore form may be able to dive to depths of more than 600 metres to catch food. Dolphins use echolocation for hunting and navigating. The clicking sounds they make travel through the water hitting objects up to 200 metres in front and echoing back to the dolphin, which allows them to work out the size, shape, speed, distance and direction of their prey. Working together as a group, dolphins can trap schools of fish or squid by rounding them up and diving into the
Natural predators include killer whales and sharks such as tiger sharks and dusky sharks. Other risks include entanglement in fishing nets (trawling, drift and gill nets), habitat destruction and degradation, pollution (organochlorines), disease (Morbillivirus) and illegal killing of dolphins. In some parts of the world bottlenose dolphins are killed for food. It is also possible that the dolphins' key prey species are being fished out, thus reducing the amount of food available to them. In Perth and particularly around Rockingham local dolphins have taken to begging for food from local boats. This has led to an increase in mortality from propeller strikes and fishing line entanglement as well as a reduction in reproductive success.
Bottlenose dolphins are very social animals that live together in parties. Inshore parties may have around 12 members and offshore parties may number in the hundreds. Within the party there is a strong sense of unity or bonding, with lots of interaction between the dolphins in the group (touching, chasing, making noises etc). Bottlenose dolphins are highly active and can be frequently seen tail slapping, riding on bow waves created by boats, surfing waves or leaping playfully into the air. They will chase one another, roll over each other and carry objects such as seaweed.
Dolphins have many partners over a lifetime and mate all year round. Females begin to breed from about six years of age, and have a calf every two to three years. Calves are born throughout the year, although most are born in spring and summer after a gestation period of 12 months. Calves are born tail first so that they do not drown and their mother quickly pushes them up to the surface for their first breath. Calves suckle their mother's milk for up to 18 months, although they begin eating fish at about 6 months of age and remain with their mother for about six years.
The bottlenose dolphin is common throughout the world's oceans.
You can care for them by helping to keep their environment clean. Take your rubbish home, and if you find any floating at sea or on the coast, please pick it up. Bottlenose dolphins often strand, either singly or in small groups. If you find a stranded or entangled dolphin you should report it to the Department of Environment and Conservation. While you are waiting for help to arrive, keep it wet and cool, and keep it shaded so it doesn't get sunburnt, but remember not to obstruct the blowhole, so the dolphin can breathe.