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Swim with Dolphins

Our Dolphin-Friendly, eco-oriented Swim with Dolphins Cruise is one of the best experiences you can have in the ocean!

 

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Snorkel with wild dophins off the shores off Forster!

Bottlenose

Oceanic Bottlenose

Common

Dolphins!

Minimum age is 15

However Non Swimmers are all welcome abord the vessel!

Dive Forster at Fisherman's Wharf has provided truly wonderful experiences for thousands of customers in our local open ocean and lake environment, offering a fantastic opportunity for in-water Dolphin interaction.

Our Swimming with Dolphins cruises are conducted in the open ocean, north of the Port Stephens Great Lakes Marine Park boundary; it is out here in the current line that sweeps into the relatively sheltered bay formed by Cape Hawke, that we often encounter the pods of playful Common Dolphins.

In 1994 the Commercial Vessel's Manager of NSW Maritime (then Waterways), Mr John Howard came to Forster to assess our Swimming with Dolphins cruises, in particular the safety aspect of our operation. Mr Howard undertook a cruise with us and following this said: "We cannot deny the public the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful activity. You have obviously thought thoroughly about how to conduct these in water activities safely. We will be issuing you with a permit as part of your Certificate of Survey to put people over the age of fifteen years into the water on a trailing rope whilst you motor along slowly, and as demonstrated to me this morning"

 

Swimming with Dolphins Cruises are conducted October thru April out of Forster NSW on the East Coast of Australia.

We encounter four types of Dolphins on the cruises:

  1. The local resident Bottlenose Dolphins which are normally found very close inshore along the beaches and ocean headlands.
  2. We also regularly encounter big pods of Common Dolphins which commonly roam up & down our coastline at a variable distance from shore.
  3. Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphins which also usually roam the coastline offshore. Sometimes, we encounter these dolphins inter-mixing with the Common Dolphins.
  4. Pan Tropical Spotted Dolphins are very occasionally also visitors to our offshore waters.

October through to mid - November cruises are conducted two or three times weekly, generally departing at 8 am for 2 to 2.5 hours duration.

November thru late - May more cruises are scheduled, and during the summer school holidays cruises depart daily, normally at 7:00 am

We always conduct the cruises in the morning as this is when the seas are usually calmest and the Dolphins at their playful best.

Weekends are often booked out months in advance by Scuba diving groups as our vessel is multi purpose.

Costs are AUD$80 for adult "swimmers", AUD$50 for adult non-swimmers, AUD$30 for children under 15 years.

Minimum age for persons to get into the water is 15 years (adult rate).

We provide swimmers wetsuits, masks and snorkels for the period of the cruise.

We have an 85% to 90% success rate of putting people into the water to Swim with the Wild Dolphins!

There is only one person at a time allowed in the water with the Dolphins. This person keeps close contact with the boat by holding onto a rope alongside whilst the Dolphins swim under, beside and around them.

Swimming with the Dolphins is suitable for everyone (15 years of age or older), but it does help if you are comfortable being in the ocean with your face in the water.

There are a number of medical and health problems that may make Swimming with the Dolphins unsuitable for someone. These could include epilepsy, heart or stress problems, history of dizziness, history of fainting spells, insulin dependant diabetes and aquaphobia; if you are unsure or suffer from any of these or any similar conditions you should consult your doctor before undertaking this adventure.

If you have snorkelling experience this is a great help in making it work for you.

People considering Swimming with the Dolphins are advised to practice snorkelling prior to undertaking this adventure.

It is possible to practice your snorkelling skills right off our own Wharf here in Wallis Lake. The day before your cruise and on the high tide is the best for this. We will lend you the necessary equipment to practice and can assist you with a few helpful tips. There is no charge for this service.

Swimming with the Dolphins Cruises are very weather and seas dependant.

Whilst we are normally able to assess whether conditions will be favourable one or two days in advance, we reserve the right to cancel cruises if the seas are not calm enough to undertake the cruise.

Even in the calmest of oceans, boats will rock and passengers will experience movement. If you are prone to motion sickness, preventative medications can greatly assist in ensuring your enjoyment of the cruise. "Travacalm", available only from chemists, is in our experience the most effective product for this available.

We do also encounter Humpback Whales during late June thru July on their northward migration, and also October thru November when they are heading south with their new calves.

Terms of Service

Swimming with the Dolphins is suitable for everyone over 15 years of age, but it does help if you are comfortable being in the ocean with your face in the water.

There are a number of medical and health problems that may make Swimming with the Dolphins unsuitable for someone.

These could include epilepsy, heart or stress problems, history of dizziness, history of fainting spells, insulin dependant diabetes and aquaphobia; if you are unsure or suffer from any of these or any similar conditions you should consult your doctor before undertaking this adventure.

If you have snorkelling experience this is a great help in making it work for you. People considering Swimming with the Dolphins are advised to practice snorkelling prior to undertaking this adventure. It is possible to practice your snorkelling skills right off our own Wharf here in Wallis Lake. The day before your cruise and on the high tide is the best for this.

We will provide you with the necessary equipment to practice and can assist you with a few helpful tips. There is no charge for this service.

Swimming with the Dolphins Cruises are weather and seas dependant. Whilst we are normally able to assess whether conditions will be favourable one or two days in advance, we reserve the right to cancel cruises if the seas are not calm enough to undertake the cruise. Even in the calmest of oceans, boats will rock and passengers will experience movement. If you are prone to motion sickness, preventative medications can greatly assist in ensuring your enjoyment of the cruise. "Travacalm", available only from chemists, and in our experience is the most effective product available on the market.

We do also encounter Humpback Whales during late June thru July on their northward migration, and also October thru November when they are heading south with their new calves. Swimming with Humpback Whales is one of life's greatest ocean experience. In August thru September every year we escort tour groups to Vava'u in Tonga to Swim with the Humpback Whales and their calves there. This is the best thing you will ever experience in our oceans.

Accomodation

We also have accommodation available for visitors to Forster.

We have our own Blue Water Divers' Lodge, a five bedroom house, share facilities right in the heart of Forster. There are three bunkrooms and two double rooms.

Cancellation Policy

We reserve the right to cancel a cruise due to either unfavourable seas forecasts prior to the cruise date, or unforeseen unfavourable sea conditions on the day of the cruise. In either of these events we will not charge you for a cruise that does not go ahead.

If a cruise is cancelled by us, you will then have the opportunity the transfer your booking to another date or if this does not suit you, then cancel the booking altogether at no charge to you.

We will be the ultimate arbiter of possible sea conditions and we consult a number of different weather and seas forecast services for guidance in this. It is our final decision on the possible / predicted sea conditions for the day, and if you are booked then we will guarantee that there are your booked spots reserved for you. This final decision on the possible / predicted sea conditions for the day of the cruise will be made only on the day preceding the cruise.

Conversely by your booking you are guaranteeing that you will abide by our decisions on the possible / predicted sea conditions for the day and will be liable for payment for these reserved spots on the boat if the cruise goes ahead.

If all these forecasters get it wrong, and this is rare but possible, then we reserve the right to cancel the cruise with reference to the actual sea conditions that we observe on the day.

Early cancellations by you, due to unforeseen circumstances may be possible, and you will not be charged for (except for a possible $10 service fee per person), if we can fill your spots on the boat.

Please choose your preferred date carefully as date changes may only be possible if we can re-fill your reserved spot(s), and may be subject to a $10 per person service fee

Looking forward to having you join us in Forster and Swimming with the Dolphins!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long are we in the water with the dolphins?

Gernerally each swimmer will be in the water for about 5 mins and we then rotate to the next swimmer. If we have a full boat of 20 swimmers you get upto 2-3 swims.

What is the procedure to swim with dolphins?

We have a rope system along the side of our boat. On entry into the water, the swimmer must take a gentle approach, using the ropes to pull themselves towards the front of the vessel and then enjoy the interactions with the dolphins!

How far out do we go?

Sometimes we can go upto 15-20 mins out to sea. Wherever the dolphins are happy to have us, we will go!

Do i need my own snorkelling gear?

Mask snorkel & wetsuit is included (you wont need fins), however if you have your own mask, snokel or wetsuit you are welcome to bring it, as your own gear is always more comfortable.

Do i need any qualifications?

No qualifications are necessary. Confidence with the open water is a must, you will be in contact with the boat at all times. We recommend if you haven't snorkelled before or it's been a while, we invite you to practice here, the afternoon before your cruise so you are feeling prepared for your dolphin swim

When is the best time of year to swim with dolphins?

Our swimming with dolphins cruises commence on the 14th of October and run through to April.

Can i go on the cruise just to observe?

You can board the vessel as a non swimmer at the cost of $50. Children are $30

Can we take cameras in the water?

Yes, cameras are welcome. They must be kept close to you, poles are not recomended (selfie sticks) as they deter the dolphins

What is the gaurantee on swimming with dolphins?

The dolphins are wild animals and as such there is no guarantee. We have a 85% - 90% success rate of puting people in the water to swim with dolphins. We guarantee you will see a dolphin on this cruise, but sometimes they don't want us to swim in which case we will watch them peacefully from the boat

Are there any cheap options for accomodation in the area?

We have our own accomodation available for use.

The Blue Water Divers' Lodge - A comfortable five bedroom fully equipped house situated right in the heart of Forster. Prices starting at $40 per person per night

 

 

 

Bookings

Bookings are essential for Swimming with the Dolphins Cruises

Phoning 02 6554 7478 (after hours mobile 0409 466 958) before 5 pm on the day before your cruise is essential to ensure that the weather and sea conditions will be suitable for us to undertake the cruise.

You must arrive at least 15 minutes before the cruise departure time. Our vessel departs promptly at the advised time.

Please allow enough time for your travel to our Wharf

Our vessel
"TSMV Avanti" carries a maximum of twenty passengers.

Credit Card details ok to confirm, either by
email or phone 02 6554 7478