Dolphins, particularly the well known Bottlenose Dolphins, are one of the most intelligent, playful, and social marine mammals, and a source of fascination for people the world over. While some are content to view them in their tanks, or watch specially trained Dolphins in shows at zoos, marine parks, and Aquariums, others want more, which has led to a whole industry based around up close and personal Dolphin encounters.
For those who’d like the opportunity to view Dolphins in their natural habitat, there is the option to go on one of many Dolphin Watching Cruises around the world. Organisers of these cruises tend to promote eco tourism and conservation, and will make a trip both enjoyable and educational for visitors. There are opportunities to Dolphin Watch in the UK off the coast of Scotland in the Moray Firth area, off the coast of Wales in the St Davids and Ramsey Island area, and along the Cornish coastline. Anyone feeling more adventurous could take in a Dolphin Watching Trip abroad, in locations like the Andalucian coast in Spain, Nassau in the Bahamas, Hawaii, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Florida, which is a popular hub for such trips.
To cater for those who want to get more up close and personal with these magical creatures, there are two other types of Dolphin Encounter, a Dolphin Encounter with trained Dolphins in Captivity, or an encounter swimming with them in the Wild.
Find a responsible tour/boat operator, with both a high success rate in finding Dolphin Pods, and a sound knowledge of safe swimming techniques, such as not herding the mammals or making too much splash, and the wild option could work well for you. Popular locations for swimming with Dolphins in the wild include Kaikoura, New Zealand, which is good for Dusky Dolphins, The Red Sea in Egypt, which is known for its pods of Spinner and Bottlenose Dolphins, and The Azores Archipelago, which boasts up to 8 different species of Dolphin.
If taking a swim on the wild side isn’t for you, then there are organisations that offer Dolphin Encounters in captivity. Many of the Dolphins worked with have been rescued from closed Aquariums and Marine Parks, or have been bred in captivity. Dolphin Encounters traditionally involve hands on contact in shallow waters with a trainer, or a Dolphin Swim, which enables you to have not just a Dolphin hug and kiss, but to experience the Dolphin Swim or Footpush. All this is combined with photo and video footage, and fun/educational lectures to ensure an exciting and unforgettable experience. Locations worldwide include Discovery Cove in Florida and Blue Lagoon Island in the Bahamas.
Trips for all these and many more Dolphin Encounters can be booked direct with the tour operator or attraction, or via your travel agent/hotel/tour rep, either in advance or on arrival at your destination. Some packages can prove very popular though, so make sure you do your research and don’t miss out on this experience of a lifetime!