Swimming with Dolphins: yes or no?
Before writing this blog post, #MirVisaTravel dreamed for a long time to swim with dolphins. One could say this was on the Bucket list. The search for options, where and how can this dream would come true, began with reading many articles and posts on this topic. Reading all these material, however, made one wonder whether this dream is truly worthy.
There are two possibilities to swim with dolphins: first one in a pool of dolphinarium with trained dolphins or in open waters with wild dolphins.
Let's look at some pros and cons.
Swimming with dolphins in the pool
To learn more, watch a documentary “The Dark Secrets Surrounding Dolphins”
Conclusion: definitely “no” for swimming with dolphins in a pool
Swimming with wild dolphins
While dolphins roam all of the world’s oceans, only a handful of destinations are suitable for jumping in the sea with them – and even fewer can ensure this is done responsibly, with well-trained skippers and enforced regulations. When choosing a destination, take into consideration how much travelling you’re prepared to do (even the Azores can be a day’s journey unless you manage to book a direct flight), how much time you want to spend on the water when you’re there, and whether or not you’re keen to try out other activities – from trekking and land-based wildlife watching to beach-lazing and cultural encounters.
In various places you can meet different kinds of dolphins in the natural habitat:
Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops Aduncus), recognizable by its darker grey top and lighter grey belly, often distributed with spots as they age. These dolphins are relatively large measuring around twice the length of an average human. They are highly sociable dolphins:-)
Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris) living in mega pod sizes of more than a hundred dolphins. These tiny, reaching the size of an average man, acrobatic dolphins are sometimes found interacting with the boats in the form of bow-riding. They are rarely seen in the shallow waters, mostly spotted around 3 – 4kms out in water depths of around 30 meters. The Spinner dolphin has stunning markings leaving us with the impression that they have been carefully made up with a fine paint brush.
Humpback dolphins (Sousa Chinensis) that have been observed, from time to time, socializing with the Bottlenose Dolphins in the shallow inshore waters. On these rare occurrences, only one or two Humpback dolphins have been spotted in amongst the Bottlenose dolphin pod, which isn’t surprising as they sadly occupy a position on the endangered species list as near threatened. These medium-size dolphins have similar coloration, if a little shorter in length, to the more common Bottlenose dolphin. What sets them apart from the bottlenose dolphin is the distinctive hump on the back of the Humpback dolphin.
The Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuate). The adult dolphins are spotted all over hence living up to their name of Spotted Dolphin, often the youngsters have little spots and can be confused with their cousin bottlenose dolphin. In years gone by the spotted dolphin did experience a significant reduction in their numbers due to indiscriminate tuna hunting practices. Since the 1980s however, there has been a huge increase in their numbers, reaching almost the population size of the most common Bottlenose dolphin, this has been due to the implementation of dolphin friendly tuna capture methods.
Conclusion: probably “yes” for swimming with wild dolphins
What is your experience with dolphins and in where?
Recently #MirVisaTravel was in Mauritius and swimming with wild dolphins is very popular there.
The Friendly Dodo in Mauritius is very good. They start much early than other providers and often are the first to meet the dolphins enjoying a quiet moment alone with dolphins. Though the website is in German, the Friendly Dodo Team will be able to host French or English speakers as well.
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