Baird Bay Ocean Eco Experience
Swim with Sea Lions and Dolphins
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are the tours suitable for all ages?
Yes, our tour is suitable for all age groups. Children under 12 must be accompanied in the water by an adult or guardian. Children 10 years and under must be accompanied by a parent. The dolphin section of the tour is in deeper water requiring some more confidence and children must be able to use a snorkel and mask.
2. Are the tours equal access?
Yes, our boat is wheelchair friendly and we’ll do whatever we can to facilitate inclusion of all abilities. Note that some mobility and self-confidence is required for the swim.
3. Can I attend as a sightseer only, not a swimmer?
Yes, guests are welcome to join the tour without swimming and there are ticket prices to reflect this. It’s likely you’ll still encounter the dolphins and sea lions up close, even from the boat. If you have pre-booked onboard as a sightseer and arrive at Baird Bay, the day is nice and calm and warm and you change your mind and want to swim, all you need to do is advise the receptionist and she or he will upgrade your fare to a swim tour.
4. Is the water calm and safe from ‘other’ sea creatures?
Swimming with the sea lions takes place in a safe enclosed relatively shallow pool close to their Island home. In fact, you should be able to touch the bottom most of the time. However, the swim with the dolphins is in deeper water.
Although there are white pointer sharks in the waters off the Great Australian Bight, we’ve only seen three in Baird Bay in 30 years of operation. Of course, it’s a risk we must consider, so our guides wear shark shields at all times when swimming with the dolphins. We also respond to several other environmental indicators of sharks, which is why we’ve never experienced an issue on our tours.
5. Are we in the water on our own?
No. There is always at least one tour guide in the water with you to provide assistance if needed.
6. What are the best months for the tour?
Mid-November through until mid-March, is always the warmest air and ocean temperature. These months are also the most weather-predictable months and suitable for all passengers to give it a go. Generally summer ocean temperatures give us anywhere from 18 to 21 degrees Celsius maximum.
Mid-March until end of May can be very marginal with the higher seas of winter setting in and the cold southern ocean currents swinging up from the Antarctic which decreases ocean temperatures rapidly along with the wind chill factor being even less. Ocean temperatures can be as low as 9 degrees in July and August.
Beginning of September through until end of October can also be very marginal for cool and rough conditions. Ocean temperatures during September and October are around 14 to 16 degrees Celsius. These temperatures increase rapidly as we climb into the predictable summer months. Tours during the months of April and May, September and October are definitely not suitable for children under 12 years of age.
Our ocean temperatures are always cooler here, which is why we have such a pristine ocean environment and why the Sea Lions and Dolphins are so healthy and happy.
7. How long is the tour?
From arrival to departure is typically 3-4 hours, with approx. 2-3 hours on the water.
8. How far do we have to travel by boat?
Travel time to the swimming area is about 15 minutes.
9. What happens if the tour is cancelled?
If a tour is cancelled, we will endeavour to get you on another tour. If that is not convenient within your travel schedule, deposits will be fully refunded.
10. What happens if the Dolphins and Sea Lions don’t show up?
If swimming is not achieved throughout the tour, we will refund swimming fares back to the level of a sightseeing fare. You will see the Sea Lions at the very least; and almost certainly see the Dolphins up close from the boat. Each day is different – sometimes the Sea Lions will upstage the Dolphins, then other times the Dolphins will steal the show. Either way, we do our best to facilitate an in-water interaction, with a very high success rate. However, this is a wildlife experience, which means we simply can’t provide guarantees.
11. What do I need to bring?
Be sure to bring a jacket to put on after the swim. Also, bring a camera, towel, swimwear and sunscreen. We do request that you do not apply any sunscreen before any in-water interaction, once the interaction is completed and you have returned to the vessel, you are able to apply as much sunscreen as you like.