Words by Fatema Sitabkhan
Photos by Temptation Sailing
With the Adelaide summer due in a couple of weeks, a winter lover like myself needs a number of ways to stay cool and beat the Australian scorcher of a season, Summer has always been one to slow me down, but looking forward to an awesome water sport that local business Temptation Sailing has on offer – dolphin watching and/or dolphin swimming – definitely ups the game and makes the heat a lot more tolerable and enjoyable! Besides, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of jumping into the waters of the ocean and exploring the gorgeous marine life that the South Australian coast is blessed with. It’s a priceless experience that not only helps humans and marine life come in close and intimate contact, but it also helps you appreciate how important it is to do our part to preserve the underwater world for these gorgeous creatures.
Starting bright and early at 7am, I made my way to the Glenelg foreshore, where myself and a bunch of other enthusiastic swimmers and sailing lovers gathered together and were welcomed by a friendly member from the TS team. Upon embarking the gorgeous navy blue and white Catamaran, I collected my wetsuit gear and made my way to the bow (front of the ship) – this was part of the Swim with Dolphins offer for $98.
While some visitors made themselves comfortable to enjoy a beautiful morning of sailing and watching dolphins swim along the boat, the swimmers received a succinct but excellent debrief from one of the crew members, where we were given instructions around the language and procedures that would be used to help us have a safe and enjoyable swim with the wild dolphins!
We sailed away to the point where Glenelg seemed like a little dot. We were surrounded by water on all sides and it is single-handedly one of the most calming feelings ever!
Once we were out at sea, the crew scouted for dolphin pods nearby. Once they were spotted, the crew members gave us instructions to jump into the water once we were at a safe distance from the wild dolphins.
The system worked brilliantly, because along two lines, our group of swimmers was able to witness some of the most stunning dolphins! It was towards the last couple of times of me jumping into the water that I got to experience a mother dolphin and her calf swim right below me and then alongside the crew. Wholesome, magical, and peaceful are just some of the words that can best describe this moment for me. It took a lot for me to leave the water (and the beautiful dolphins), but there’s no hesitation that I’ll be going back again and again to experience this amazing water sport that also brings in the ability to fall in love with one of the smartest and beautiful water mammals out there!
Having enjoyed the services of Temptation Sailing previously over the last 2 years, I decided to use this opportunity to conduct an e-interview with the team behind TS and bring you their story and why you should consider supporting them! Bonus if you’re into semi-adventurous and unusual water sports and are looking for ways to make the most out of the upcoming summer season!
Tema: Can you tell me a bit about the crew – who are the people who make this business?
The crew consists of the Captain (Stephen), who is also the owner and builder of the vessel. There is also a permanent marine biologist and a couple of general crew members – one who is studying marine biology and another who is the owner’s son. The office is run mainly by the owner’s wife and his daughter – so it is a family-run business.
Tema: Why do you do what you do? What drives the passion to take people out every day to sea?
The owners’ love of the ocean and love of the dolphins is what the business is all about. Even though it is long hours, it is a very enjoyable way to spend a working day. The customers’ reactions to seeing the dolphins (sometimes their first sighting of a dolphin in the wild) is also what makes the day enjoyable.
Tema: What are the options that you provide, in terms of dolphin watching and/or swimming?
All our cruises can be seen on our website – there is a dolphin swim/watch is the morning, or there’s an evening coastal cruise, where there is a fully licensed bar open. Alternatively, you can book the boat for private functions – we hold up to 50 passengers. However, our morning dolphin cruises are the only cruise we guarantee dolphins.
Tema: We know that the dolphins out there are “wild”, but do you think they’ve grown accustomed to the human presence through your tours? Or do they change from pod to pod?
Over the years, we have seen the same dolphins (bottlenose dolphins), some of whom have grown up from calf to mothers. Other dolphins – like the Common dolphins – come and go from year to year. Some of our regular dolphins interact with the swimmers more than others, as I guess they are more comfortable coming in close, so yes, there are a few that are definitely more accustomed to human presence.
Tema: On average, how many dolphins do you see per tour?
This varies greatly from day to day, month to month so it is very difficult to put an average on it – a good day there may be 60+ seen, other days may be 15+ but we always see dolphins without a doubt.
Tema: What’s the best time of the year to go on the tour and why?
One of the best times for dolphin interaction is probably November – beginning of December – the weather is warming, there seems to be more dolphins around and it is before the peak summer season when there are lots of boats and other water craft out on the water that tend to harass the dolphins.
Tema: What kind of dolphins do you typically tend to see?
We always see bottlenose dolphins – these may consist of a few dolphins up to 15-20+ in pods and sometimes we see Common dolphins. The Common dolphins are always in bigger pods and are usually very inquisitive.
Tema: In one sentence, why should people support your business?
We are a local, family run, eco friendly small business with an outstanding success of seeing and allowing people to interact with dolphins from a safe distance.
Tema: Is there anything else that you’d like our readers to know about your business?
We leave from the picturesque and popular Glenelg beach, where there is always something happening and something to see prior to or after the cruise and is easily accessible from the city centre.
Holdfast Shores Marina
GLENELG SA 5045