Swimming with Dolphins at Nelson Bay

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Swimming with Dolphins

Earlier this year Fallon and I were fortunate enough to share a house with a lovely couple in Valentine, a lakeside suburb of Newcastle. While the city didn’t work out for us long term due to difficulties finding work – the area itself was a beautiful one and ripe with photo opportunities.

With times a bit hard for us and money tight as we struggled to make my meager unemployment benefits stretch – we struck upon the idea of finding a cheap little travel activity to do to lift our spirits. The Newcastle region is not without its charms, and I detail quite a few of them in my post about the city’s unfulfilled potential.

After looking at several different options we came upon the idea on taking a short cruise to see if we could see some dolphins up close. I had the opportunity in the past to see and pet a dolphin at Coffs Harbour’s famous Pet Porpoise Pool, but this would be Fallon’s first chance to see the beautiful creatures.

Packing a picnic lunch and piling into Shane & Katie’s car, we embarked on the hour and a half drive from our neck of the region to beautiful Nelsons Bay. The day had not turned out the kind of weather we might have liked, but if nothing else, the grey skies meant we weren’t sweltering when we arrived. A little light drizzle only further cooled things down.

Ominous skies over Nelsons Bay as we prepared to embark. Photo by Fallon Fehringer

We weren’t going to let the weather dampen our spirits though, and we piled onto the boat with our fellow sightseers for the trip out into the bay. As we cut our way through the water we were informed that the dolphins in the region were not tame, but were quite comfortable with tourists and had become accustomed to surfacing and playing near the boats. Sure enough, it wasn’t too long before we had a small entourage of the amazing creatures playing starboard side.

The engines were cut and the boat came to a halt, and soon after a net was lowered off of the side of the boat to allow those of us brave enough to clamber down into the water to get closer to the dolphins. We weren’t alone out in the cool water, as others boats gathered around to watch the dolphins leap out of the water from time to time. It was really was something else, and it’s easy to understand how the dolphin is considered second only to humanity in terms of intelligence.

Soon it was time to move back towards the shore, and those of us in the net were treated to a strange experience as we were tickled by the water underneath and given an idea of what it might feel like to be a fish in a net. We’d grip the ropes for dear life or risk being tumbled unceremoniously back onto our fellow riders. Even with the dark skies overhead it wasn’t long before all on board were laughing and joking around.

The sun peers out on our ride back to the shore. Photo by Katie Spruce.

It was all over too soon, but as we made for the shore the sun peered out from behind the clouds and gave us cause for a little more optimism for our day. A late picnic lunch followed before we headed out to see some sand and surf at beautiful One Mile Beach – a place that warrants an entry of its own sometime.

Gorgeous One Mile Beach

All told it was a great experience, and well worth the $21 we each paid to go along. If you’re ever in the region pack yourself a picnic lunch, don’t forget to wear your swimming gear, and get out and see one of nature’s most beautiful sights.

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