Swimming with the dolphins

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mathteacherj
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Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:09 pm

Does anybody know what is the closest, nicest place to swim with the dolphins?

Thanks,

Mathteacherj
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Mon Dec 03, 2007 7:07 am

If you are talking in the wild, it is illegal. If you are talking in captivity, I believe Sea World in Orlando.
beachgirl
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Mon Dec 03, 2007 10:56 am

The dolphins are around all the time. As far as them coming up to you... that is unlikely. I know they enter Destin Harbor during mating season. I wuld not recommend trying to get close at that time. They will occasionally swim by a boat. They really don't get close enough for you to intermingle with them.
illbird
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Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:10 am

Try the Gulfarium iin Destin. They had a program with Spotted Dolphins to which we took our Grandchildren a few years ago.
Wide_Glide
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Mon Dec 03, 2007 11:50 am

As I said, it is illegal. You can be fined for touching, feeding, or even being in the water with them, with the intent to interfere with their normal activity. All you can do is watch. I have had them come along side my boat many times, even jump out of the water along side and in front of the boat. Watch, but don't touch.
And Gulfarium is on the island in FT. Walton Beach, not Destin.
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Navarrian
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Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:01 pm

mathteacherj,

The closest Dolphin swimming encounter I can remember was in Cancun Mexico. I also understand there are encounters in Hawaii, or the Carribean. but I'm sure there are other locations. A cruise out of Mobile Alabama to Cancun is about the most economical way to enjoy a swim with them. It is an awesome experience and I look forward to going again next spring.

Here is a good website to give you more information -www.dolphindiscovery.com

Navarrian 8)
mathteacherj
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Location: Fort Wayne, IN

Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:21 pm

Thanks everybody for the information. I appreciate all of your input. What a wealth of information!! Unfortunately, I don't forsee any cruises in the near future so the Gulfarium sounds like the top idea. Has anybody done the dolphin encounter there?

Thanks again for all your help!!

MathteacherJ
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Navarrian
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Tue Dec 04, 2007 11:02 am

mathteacherj,

My Avatar was taken at the gulfarium . Here are a few more pics. It is definitely worth the visit and only a few minutes from Navarre.

Navarrian 8)

Image

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mathteacherj
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Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:41 pm

Wow!! Thanks Navarrian!! Those are some great shots. I appreciate all you do.

MathTeacherJ
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:17 am

hate to bring up an old post, but the wife has her mind set on trying to find a place to swim with the dolphins while we are in Navarre. it is not my cup of tea but she wants to, any ideas.
April 2009 was our first trip to Navarre. We would like to visit several times a year but alas we cannot. Can only afford every other year.
beachgirl
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:53 am

The dolphins are everywhere here. You should not get caught trying to swim with them. It is pretty cool when they swim with your boat though. Please remember, these are wild animals. Although you may find them friendly, if you remind them of food, they will try to eat.
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David
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:42 pm

I don't believe a dolphin would try to eat a swimmer, don't know of any proof of that. Wild ones have even been known to have a definite connection with humans and many stories exist of them saving many a sailor and swimmer. I once had a book that told of their, supposedly proven, escapades along the N. C. coast over a number of decades.

Even had the joy, over 20 years ago, of petting one in Choctowahatchee Bay(Destin area) while snorkling for crabs over grass beds in chest deep water. The way it approached, closer and closer, and accepted the pat of it's entire length, then put on quite a show of flips before racing off to join the rest of the pod herding mullet along the shoreline, I believe it had once been in captivity and released either on purpose or by storm.

The above being said, I agree with Beachgirl, they are wild creatures and that should be respected. The more they become accustomed to humans, the more they depend on them. They have become too accustomed to boats and free food making themselves a neusance to fishermen when they eat off their hooks but worse is that it also makes them more available to be eaten by sharks attracted by the blood of the fish that they feed on. (re: recent eating of dolphins by makos close to Destin and Navarre - documented, by the way, and another reason not to swim with them). My suggestion is visiting them at the Gulfarium where you can observe them swim, perform, and even be allowed to pet them. Those are already dependent on humans for care and food and not available to the makos. You might, also, visit fishing piers in the area where most days porpose can be seen, especially in the next few weeks when some of their favorite food shows up in the fish migrations of spring.
David
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Kenny Wilder
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Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:06 pm

Is feeding wild dolphins illegal in the state of Florida?

Yes, feeding is prohibited under regulations enacted pursuant to the Marine Mammal
Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA)

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/laws/mmpa_regs_216.pdf. Because the MMPA
applies in both state and federal waters, feeding is illegal in both state and federal waters
in Florida and throughout the United States.


Link for source and more information
http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/dolphinsmar ... ct_faq.pdf
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Pete
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Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:33 am

Gulfarium in Ft. Walton Beach has "dolphin encounters":

Link: http://www.gulfarium.com/sde.html

As for dolphins in the wild - Florida Master Naturalists advise to stay 50-yards away (but I guess if they come at/to you, that is their choice?)?
Last edited by Pete on Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
Cheers, Pete
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Pete
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Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:43 am

More info: while I haven't found an original source (law), here is a summary from: http://www.streetdirectory.com/travel_g ... largo.html
================================
"One cannot swim with dolphins here because the laws of Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 apply here, in addition to the laws of the State of Florida. One can only watch any one group of dolphins for about 30 minutes from the boat from about 50 yards so that feeding, mating, nursing their babies, etc., is not disrupted.

The law prohibits pursuing wild dolphins, swimming after, and touching them. If dolphins approach you while snorkeling (as opposed to you approaching them) the law suggests that you enjoy the moment of close encounter and then go back to the boat."
Cheers, Pete
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