Swiming with dolphins

Mr Cassandra

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Just read YW piece on the Blue Planet After 5 years sailing in the Ionion and the Aegean Lot of occasions when we have had Dolphins swiming on the bow and if feeding swiming around the boat ,this season we had a very large pod with us for about 1/2hr my 10yrs old daughter was able to touch one when hanging off the bow She realy wanted to get in the water with them .she is a exerlent swimmer. But would it have been safe, the dolphin were playing with the boat and her off the bow Cheers Bob T

Bob T
 

AndrewB

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We've swum with dolphins in the Bahamas. Dolphins are predators of course, but I never yet heard of anyone being injured by one either accidentally or deliberately. There is a FAQ on dolphins at http://www.dolphinreef.co.il/about_dolphins/FAQs/faqs.html which seems to confirm this.

Dolphins like company, swim close but always just out of range of being touched. Why do we humans want to touch so much?
 

Footpad

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In last months Dive magazine (jounal of British Sub-Aqua Club BSAC) they published a beautiful photo of a <1yr baby swimming underwater with a dolphin. I have never been fortunate enough to dive with dolphin but I would jump at the chance and be perfectly happy for my children/grandchildren to do so.
 

robp

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I read a piece, (a kind of society flyer)?, when Dolphins were sighted off the UK South Coast in the summer. It said "inspite of what you've read or heard, never attempt to swim with them. They are easily spooked". (Not verbatim). I know no more than that.
 

oldharry

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We regularly enjoyed Dolphins playing with the boat in the irish sea in the 70's 80's, but (mainly due to water temperatures!) never tried swimming with them. Also jumping OB a couple of miles out with a fair sea running never seemed a very good idea!

Most of the accounts I have read of people swimming with Dolphins seem to be with those in captivity, or wild ones which have 'adopted' a beach or harbour, and are not only used to have human swimmers around, but have chosen to allow us to 'play' with them.

I never heard of anyone being attacked by Dolphins, but know of one or two apocryphally unrelkiable stories of injured or non swimmers in the water being assisted to safety by wild Dolphins.

A friend recounts spending nearly an hour in the water with a Dolphin that had adopted Dingle in West Ireland - and nearly dying of hypothermia as the water was so cold! It chose to swim and play around with him - he had not known it was around when he went for his swim.

I think the rule has to be to allow them to approach you - and if they choose not to, continue to keep well clear; this is the advice of the Dolphin Watch people at Durlston near Swanage.

However seeing the artfulness with which the Dolphins kept clear of the Teneriffe trip boat which took us out 'Whale watching' a couple of years back, I suspect they are well able to decide on what human company they want to keep - or not, as the case may be. On that occasion they were clearly not impressed with a large high-powered catamaran loaded with holidaymakers interrupting their afternoon ploys, and every time we got within around a quarter mile, dived deep and far!

Didn't see any Whales either! And if you go there - don't be taken in by the Preservation/ecological sales talk. Its a purely commercial boat trip operation which appeared to us to be harassing rather than preserving them!
 
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There are some risks

I have swum with dolphins, seals, mantas and sharks - all great in their own way. The sharks only care about you if they are the same size or bigger, seals have fun whenever and love to have a good scratch.

Dolphins are best if they come to you but be careful. Male dolphins might decide they fancy you. How shall we put this delicately? A male dolphin who's "happy" has a rather large way of showing it - and there's little a person can do to reject their advances. As a result there have been cases of people being injured in the Florida theme parks where they encourage swimming with dolphins - and a few law suits followed.

The problem is, they've been portrayed as happy animals because of their in-built smile and their natural curiosity. I suggest they been given the same respect as any other untamed animal - and when you enter a large group you don't know the family politics! Swim with small numbers, if you're lucky enough.
 

Lynette

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Humped by a randy dolphin??

Tell us more! They only ever swam round me. What have you got that I haven't got, then???
 
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