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Why Swimming With Wild Dolphins Rocks

A day with Rockingham Wild Encounters.

There are several places in the world where you can get in the water with the sleek creature, but where can you go and get up close and personal with a wild dolphin? You know, the ones that aren’t there just for a tourist attraction, or the ones that aren’t fed on a regular basis so that they come to you expecting a feed?

That’s a massive point in why Rockingham Wild Encounters tops the charts for me.

Rockingham is about a 45 minute drive south of Perth, and it is a fantastic location for hanging out with dolphins or getting out to Penguin Island for a day with an adorable little bunch of penguins. I voted for dolphins, although I would have done both if I had had the time.

Our boat was big and clean and ready to go. We boarded, met the skipper and the crew and were met with details of our day. It was a bit chilly out that morning, so extra tight wet suits were in order. Yeah, that was a challenge for my first wet suit experience!

Then we set off!

It was literally just a few minutes before we met our first pod of dolphins… wild dolphins! There was no certainty in whether they would like us being there or not, or if they would come and hang out a bit closer. That’s the intrigue of going with the wild factor.

My group was the first to go, so we jumped in the water (quietly) and started our swim towards the dolphins out in the nearby blue. We swam, I stuck my head in the water and waited, but nothing. This pod decided to move on.

Without wasting much time, we got back on the boat to search again. Not a few more minutes passed and we were back in the water, and this time it was success.

The group floated there in silence and wonder; I submerged my head in the greenish blue ocean until I saw it – a blip, a quick blur, a dolphin.

Dolphin... or shark?

dolphin tail

dolphin playing

They’re so quick, zipping around, until finally they got comfortable and starting playing right below us in the water! Real wild dolphins! I was ecstatic…

… at least until the giant jellyfish brushed across my chest (no joke). Thank you, wet suit.

The two teams on the boat took turns going out in the water with each pod we found for a couple of hours. How can you describe it really? Surreal?

That’s why swimming with wild dolphins rocks.

There are rules

Since these are wild dolphins, there is a strict no-touching policy. Unfortunately, I was not able to hitch a ride like so many people have asked. Rockingham Wild Encounters wants to preserve the wild nature of these animals so the experience remains authentic, and so we don’t injure or scare the animals in the process.

We also don’t really swim. Instead we grab on to the belt of the person next to you, who is attached to a person with an aqua scooter that quietly moves us all toward the dolphins. It really is the best and easiest way to assure everyone gets as close as possible without ruining it for others.

in the water

aqua scooter
The Aqua Scooter

dolphins everywhere

The keyword is WILD

We have to remember that; there is no control over how long they choose to hang out and what they do. We were quite lucky in the beginning to be hitting playful little bunches, to see them swimming around, mating, swimming and mating some more (they do a LOT of mating). Other groups have to go a bit later in the day after being in search for the pods longer, so your time on the boat may vary.

split dolphin

After a couple of hours, though, they decided to back away for us, so we took that as our queue and headed to a quiet cove for lunch on the boat.

At this time, the sun was out in full beauty and Rockingham proved to be a cute little beach getaway.

The Swim With Wild Dolphins tour runs $205 and includes transport from Perth CBD, a light lunch, wet suit rental, time on a nice boat, free beverages, guidance and a chance to get up close to Flipper in his natural habitat. A tour like this may only last half the day, but the memories will be priceless.

The Skipper

I was invited as a guest on this tour by Rockingham Wild Encounters, but the opinions and words are my own.