"The ocean is not our home. . . we are guests and should act accordingly." Kathleen Dudzinski
~ Remember, RESPECT is the key to any interaction. Dolphins must initiate any interaction and have the right to terminate it. Let go of expectations.
" If you wanted to befriend a human, would you run down the street, chase him or her and expect that person to greet you in ease? I don't know anyone who wants to be aggressively chased." Dr. Laurie Moore
~BE AWARE of the dolphin's position and behaviors from the time we first see them, to the time we leave their area. Be ready to enter the water quickly and also exit the water quickly when guided to do so. Timing is often critical.
~ Take your cues from the dolphin behavior and movements. Dolphins communicate with body language, and distance. Use your heart and think smart when swimming with or near them. When honoring your own limits and theirs, your experience of swimming with them will be optimized.
~ LOOK under the water and through the water column once the dolphins are near enough. The dolphins may swim right underneath or beside you, while you are looking above the water for their location.
~ Parallel the dolphins in all aspects of the phrase, swim with (video), mimic
actions, attitudes and activity levels. A dolphins interest in people is frequently based on curiosity. Non-aggressively twisting, spiraling or making unusual sounds underwater may succeed in attracting an active dolphin's attention. If the dolphins are low key (relaxed and quiet state) it is best to simply share space and observe as a "fly on the wall".
~ Swim with the dolphins calm and strong, arms near sides, no splashing. Be responsible for your actions and stay within your own limits. Parallel the pod, staying in "your lane". This way you aren't 'chasing' (changing the dolphins speed or course) or disturbing important activities such as feeding, courtship and nursing. Always respect their personal space.
~ If a dolphin comes near enough to do so, do not reach out to touch. Wild dolphins have a very acute sense of touch, and grabbing at a dolphin is guaranteed to push them away. Take nothing but pictures - touch nothing but hearts.
~ LISTEN to your Guide. They have many years of experience with these particualr dolphins. HOWEVER if they ask you to do something beyond your comfort level (for example you are tired and don't want to get in the water, etc.), you have the right to stay onboard or get back onboard. You are ultimately responsible for your actions.
~ The main message? Don't splash, and think "swim with - not swim at" = blend, blend, blend with the pod.
~ REMEMBER We are visitors to the dolphins ocean home and should not abuse their welcome. Reciprocate with respect,
If you are not a good swimmer, have fears or other limitations, please let us know and we can work with you to either remain onboard where you may have a much better view and experience, or we will help as much as possible to raise your comfort level Are YOU ready to swim with dolphins?