Feeding Wild Dolphins [Tin Can Bay And Rainbow Beach]
Farm work in the rural hinterland of the Fraser coast is turning out to be way more than just hard graft and dust...
Since living here we have been able to tick off some major bucket-list type activities, including whale-watching at Hervey bay. But there's much more to the Fraser coast than just whales. There's dolphins too!
Saturday morning, awake at 3.30am for a drive to Tin Can Bay. For only $10 you can watch wild dolphins, feed them and listen to expert volunteers talk about their fishy friends.
At around 7 am, Patch the dolphin rolled into the bay, slowly coming up to the waters edge to say hello to the volunteers. They know each dolphin by name, and spend most mornings with them, so Patch happily sat right in front of us, but always beside the volunteer, who it clearly knew and trusted. But these are wild dolphins so they are not to be petted like dogs.
We weren't encouraged to do anything other than observe, although they do nuzzle your hand if you put it down in the water. I tried, but it was a bit too shy.
The dolphins feeding is a monitored and sanctioned activity; they are not dependant on the humans, just in the habit of visiting that spot and putting on a cute little show for visitors to get some breaky.
Its so important people have the opportunity to see dolphins in their natural environment and be able to interact in a respectful way, just like when we went whale watching. I don't feel like I want to disturb creatures like this. Maybe some enjoy petting the tame ones and holding onto their fins, but dolphins aren't performing monkeys; they aren't here for us to interfere and interrupt.
People that visit the likes of Sea-world, I get that they're just curious which is understandable, but if we can see these wild beauties in their own habitat, then maybe people will respect the need for them be wild and left to thrive that way.
Shy but still friendly and quietly interested, the dolphin sat in front of us for an hour prior to feeding, occasionally swimming a little bit, often getting people a little bit wet clearing its blow-hole. They call it a 'kiss' when the dolphins squirt you, so I was kissed by a dolphin that day, but basically just squirted with a little bit of snotty water!
Something really adorable happened when a lady in a wheelchair came onto the beach. Patch made a beeline for her. The volunteer expert explained that dolphins get excited and very interested when they see babies, or people with disabilities.
Instinctively they will nudge or touch such people. It was so beautiful to see it rush towards her then gently stop before her. I can't imagine how it might feel to be regarded by a wild animal with such polite curiosity. It definitely made us all appreciate and respect Patch even more; he's a wild animal, but he has manners, something we can all learn from.
The other attraction was definitely the pelican birds, much tamer than most, they hang around getting quite close to people, because they always get a sneaky fish!
By 9 am the dolphins had filled their bellies. Patch was the one Taran and I hand-fed, but a few more turned up afterwards.
We then headed out of this tiny town and onto Rainbow Beach. Rainbow is kind of like a much smaller but equally busy Byron bay, with a stunning turquoise beach, and 4x4's running up and down its sands.
We walked around the Saturday market, and I went into the animal petting zoo. Me and a toddler were lapping it up.
It was so good to be back in our favourite setting. As much as we love the rolling green hills that we live amongst, the beach is always something we always long to return to.
We played in the sea and ran up a ridiculous hill to get the best views across to Fraser Island. All that really made me crawl up this steep sand dune was Taran's promise of a cider, it was definitely a motivating factor...
I couldn't get over the colour of the sea. I mean Aussie has some great beaches and we've seen a few but this was just such a burst of colour having been in the middle of the hot (and often very yellowy green and dusty) countryside.
A long day away from home for us, but just more memories captured of this beautiful slice of Queensland. It was the best day.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!