richoztrek: Richos trek oz 2013 travel blog

Ready to depart on our Mandurah boat cruise

A dolphin spotted!

This ridiculously opulent one is built over two blocks and on a...

Pure ecstasy!

No further invitation required

How to decide?! Sal and I shared the peanut butter melt

The youngest members of the Rockingham wild dolphin swim team

Floating in teams

As you can see from the people on the other boat, it...

Sal and I are second and third in the chain

The little group became quite playful around us

Playing in the wake as we cruise back

Sal mastering the water scooter


(Ben)

Prior to leaving Brisbane, and while we've been travelling, Sal has been keeping her eye on the online voucher sites for all the capital cities, hoping to find deals to help us explore and enjoy them better.

For Perth she managed to find a couple to do with dolphins and we booked these in for our first two days here. Yesterday we went on a one hour scenic cruise through some of the canals and waterways in Mandurah, about an hour south of Perth. The cruise also advertises dolphin viewing as part of the experience though of course they say they can't guarantee this part. After some heavy rain on the drive down, the rain cleared quite nicely and for most of the cruise we had clear skies if not sunshine.

After cruising round the local marina and before heading into the canals, some dolphins were spotted. The boat manoeuvred around the area for a while and we saw a little bit more of the creatures, but they weren't too interested in interacting with the boat. So we headed through the canals, checking out the backyards of some of the multimillion dollar homes (and the boats moored at their private jetties). After reaching the shore once again, the kids sampled Simmo's ice creams (a franchise unique to WA I think) and Sal and I checked out the chocolateria!

Today we were again out on the water, this time leaving from Rockingham, about 30 minutes drive south. We'd really been looking forward to this one as it involved swimming with the dolphins (again, as long as we could find some). Before leaving the jetty, we were all fitted out with full-length wetsuits - the kids looking pretty groovy in theirs! After a couple of hours cruising around looking for dolphins, and getting into some bigger swell, we were glad we'd all taken the motion sickness tablets we had left from the glass bottom boat trip, as one or two of our fellow passengers weren't looking so good.

We did finally find a group of three dolphins and then the fairly frenetic action started. Heading out in turns in our colour coded teams, we had to form a chain holding onto the belt of the person in front, led by our guide who was holding a water scooter (basically a hand-held propeller) and dragging us along. The idea was that we didn't swim, just floated around, looking underwater. Another of the crew members was in the water with a scooter diving and chasing and interacting with the dolphins - I guess to try and keep them interested and engaged.

To say the water was cold would be an understatement! Even with our wetsuits on, it took our breath away and poor Will was saying he wanted to get out as soon as we got in - not really possible when you're in the middle of a chain. Still, they did really well and all got to see some dolphins up close. We'd alternate a few minutes in the water and then a few out while our guide took another group in. Will and Alice had had enough after one go, and Pip made it in for a second, so our team was pretty small by our third foray into the water! Apart from the visibility being a bit limited because of the water being churned up by some previous poor weather, it was a great experience. A couple of times the dolphins came so close you felt you could touch them and we heard plenty of their little dolphin noises.

As we cruised away from the spot where we'd been swimming, the dolphins obliged our eager cameras by chasing along behind the boat and leaping out of the wake regularly. As we got back near home again, the boat stopped and we were offered the chance to have a swim and a turn with the water scooters for ourselves. On the way back in we were fed lunch, and got off all having had a thoroughly good time.



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