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Bottlenose dolphin - Tony Muir
Bottlenose dolphin - Tony Muir
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Melbourne's Ethical Dolphin Tour, Polperro Dolphin Swims

Picture of Jamie Newell
Updated: 24 April 2017
Polperro Dolphin Swims provides you with a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with wild bottlenose dolphins and Australian fur seals in Port Phillip Bay. Just a short 90-minute journey from Melbourne CBD, there is no excuse not to tick this one off your bucket list.
Polperro Swims
Polperro Swims | Courtesy of Jamie Newell

Polperro Dolphin Swims has almost 30 years experience navigating Port Phillip Bay and was the very first commercial dolphin swim in operation in the area. Since then, Polperro Dolphin Swims has become internationally renowned as the leader in environmentally responsible dolphin interactions. Polperro has also become advocates for the fast and efficient treatment of injured or distressed marine life in their area, aiding in the creation of a marine emergency response network now in place, created in partnership with Melbourne Zoo.

Polperro takes great pride in offering a small and personal service to those that choose to board their vessel, purposely limiting the size of their trips to roughly ten persons. Once you arrive at the Sorrento Pier on the Mornington Peninsular, you are greeted by the friendly crew who provide you with all the equipment you need, from snorkels to wetsuits, for your utmost convenience.

Once the initial safety talks are out of the way, there is no hanging around. The crew is just as enthusiastic as the passengers to find dolphins. They encourage everyone to keep their eyes peeled for any sign of activity so the fun can begin as soon as possible. You will hang on their every word, eagerly await direction for your cue to gently lower yourself into the water, trying your best not to splash, fall or crash and potentially scare the dolphins away.

At this point, excitement hits its peak with everyone grasping around for the rope attached to the back of the vessel allowing you to completely relax and focus your full attention on where the dolphins might be and listening out to direction from the professionals on where to look. Creating the opportunity for you to see the dolphins is paramount to the crew, so expect lots of animated shouting and pointing. They really go out of their way to make sure you don’t miss your chance.

Upon climbing out of the water, expect to be greeted with an array of hot or cold refreshments and, if you’re lucky, some homemade scones. On overcast or windy days, there is also the option of blankets to keep you warm. A hot tip from the crew is to not let unfavourable weather conditions deter you, the dull days have the potential to provide perfect conditions to meet and greet the dolphins.

Fur Seals
Fur Seals | Courtesy of Jamie Newell

As part of the excursion, there may also be the chance to get up close and personal with some Australian fur seals. A complete contrast to the speedy experience you have with the dolphin’s flying by, the seals are slower paced and much more inquisitive. You will be encouraged to stay as still as you can in the water so the seals feel comfortable enough to completely surround you. There is no reason to feel overwhelmed. The reasoning for their close proximity, it is believed, is that they like to simply see their reflection in your scuba mask.

Everything about the trip with Polperro is seamlessly executed and packed full of fun facts about Sorrento, marine conservation and the bottlenose dolphins unique to this pristine part of Victoria and tips for making the most of your time in the surrounding area. Their expertise is second to none.

Polperro Dolphin Swims offers a whole range of different packages to choose, from observation only — if getting wet isn’t your scene — to combining your dolphin experience with a relaxing, warm mineral pool swim at Peninsula Hot Springs for those that like to double dip. To find out more, click through to their website or pick up the phone and speak to one of the friendly staff members for all the information you will ever need. For a sneak peak into the underwater world of the Sorrento bay, take a look at the Instagram account of one of the crew, Tony Muir.