Swimming with sea lions and dolphins in Baird Bay is one of many “swim with” experiences on offer on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. Personally, I believe it is one of the best wildlife encounters on earth.
I’ve had the pleasure of taking hundreds of travellers, from all of walks of life, to enjoy this life enhancing experience. And of course I have done it more than just a few times myself.
Both these wildlife encounters are experienced on one tour. And people usually come really excited to swim with the dolphins but always go away having fallen in love with the sea lions.
Sea lions are the puppy dogs of the sea and the interaction that you get from them is amazing. You’re snorkelling in safe and shallow water while they splash around and enjoy playing with you. The great thing about this experience is that every time you have it, it is really unique. And it feels like you are the only one in the water having that experience.
In that moment when a sea lion comes up to you and your eyes meet, you play together and you know it is having as much fun as you. And if you’re lucky they will even give you a kiss and nibble your toes. The sea lions at Baird Bay are not enticed in any way, and they’re not fed. They naturally want to come out and play. And the more that you duck dive and splash around, the more they want to play with you.
Baird Bay Eco Tours have been operating for 24 years and it is a fact that when Alan the owner is in the water, they get super excited. It’s such an interesting story of how this whole experience began which Alan tells his passengers about. It all started one day when he was fishing in Baird Bay when one curious sea lion approached him. He watched for a while and then couldn’t resist the temptation to slip into the water. From here an incredible friendship was formed. A couple of years later the dolphins started appearing and the rest is history. There is no question both animals love the interaction with the people as much as the people love it with them.
When I take people to Baird Bay I always feel the need to jump in because you never know what’s going to happen that day and what sort of experience you will get. Will it be a nice placid experience or will they jump around you and give you a kiss. It is a wonderful experience and something everyone should do.
The dolphins experience is also world-class and it is just extraordinary. You get to encounter both wild creatures on one half-day tour! You start with duck-diving and playing chase with the Australian sea lions. Then move to deeper, but still sheltered waters, and have up to 20 bottlenose dolphins swimming around you. You can actually hear the dolphins talking to each other and it is a like a loud electric clock tick. But it is also sonar, so you feel it in your temples – as the dolphins swim in the bow waves.
You never know what you will get with wild animals. But the Baird Bay Eco Experience with sea lions and dolphins will never let you down. I first went out with Alan in 1993. Like him, I still can’t resist jumping in the water each time. I’m excited by what might happen next! It still excites me to this day. It’s amazing to be able to share this experience with our young and senior passengers travelling with us through this stunning part of South Australia.
You can have this once in a lifetime wildlife experience on most of our South Australian tours.