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Dolphin Temptation

AUSTRALIA | Tuesday, 7 May 2013 | Views [1007]

Some things stand out large enough to warrant their own individual entry and today did just that for me.

By 7.20am I was on the marina ready to board Temptation. About 20 of us filed through the boarding procedure – swimmers or spectators. Swimmers were issued with wetsuits, masks and snorkels before we all gathered on the front deck for our safety briefing.

The morning air still held a cool chill as we headed out into St Vincent’s Bay. Barely a ripple on the water’s surface, it didn’t take long to hear the first shout of ‘dolphins ahead’. The boat edged closer and stopped to allow the dolphins to come over if they chose to do so. To our delight they did and we slipped into the water holding onto the rope staggered with small buoys. Although clear enough to see the sandy seabed, the water was slightly hazy and I was disappointed not to see the small pod of dolphins as they approached and then passed on by.

The water, which had seemed quite warm on my stroll earlier in the week, didn’t seem quite so warm now and coupled with the cool morning breeze it was quite chilly! However it wasn’t long before the next sighting and we were once again back in the water. This pod were more interested in feeding and so after an initial swim by, as if to satisfy some curiosity, they carried on with their morning feed. After that we saw a few here and there but not enough to warrant a swim out.

Our luck seemed to have dried up as we headed down towards Brighton Jetty and then further out to sea when finally one of the spotters saw a large pod playing in the waves. We headed over and this time as we swam out, we were rewarded by several dolphins swimming alongside us. Watching a wild dolphin under water (through your mask) watching you (doubtless wondering what a strange species we are with these funny faces) swimming along together is something of a surreal experience. To ensure the unwanted intrusion of a less friendly finned species, we were confined to swim between the two long ropes drawn behind the boat. A sonar contraption has successfully been used to deter sharks and, quite frankly, it isn’t a system I’d like to challenge!

The pod headed off and as we re-emerged from the water, the captain informed us that a pair of the dolphins had in fact been mating but had none-the-less come over to investigate and swim with us.

The crew rely solely on binoculars and determination to sight the pods. There is no enticement of these dolphins, so whilst it is not a hands-on experience, the fact that wild dolphins have chosen to come and swim alongside you is, to me, a real privilege.

Sadly there has been a spate of unaccountable deaths among fish, as well as some 30 dolphins within recent weeks and government scientists are working frantically to find out what has caused this to happen. It would be some time later that I found out that sharks are actually frequently found these waters and hence the need for the shark deterrent. Sometimes a little ignorance is bliss!

Steve, our captain, assured me that he has the best job in the world. I couldn’t agree more. Mostly we are happy to raise a smile from someone during our working day, but to provide an eco-friendly experience of a lifetime is truly something very special indeed.

Tags: adelaide, brighton jetty, dolphins, eco-friendly, glenelg, sea, sharks, sonar, swim, temptation

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