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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dolphin Marine Magic - Pet Porpoise Pool: Shallow Water Dolphin Experience Review

On Saturday July 14, 2012 at 10:40am, I was very fortunate to do a shallow water dolphin experience at Dolphin Marine Magic - Pet Porpoise Pool in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia. Here is a review of the experience!

I arrived at Dolphin Marine Magic just after 9am after picking up my wetsuit from Jetty Dive Dive Centre and was lucky to meet up with my two co-participants, 11 year old Bridget and 15 year old Brittany, before the encounter.... we managed to get half an hour of the 10am dolphin show in before we had to head off to the encounter meeting point. We then met up with Amy, the first trainer, who took us through a safety brief before we changed out of our street clothes - I was lucky I decided to keep my wetsuit on under my clothes as it was quicker for me being 5' 11" tall and a bit round in the belly - then we sanitised our hands while waiting for Aaron, the trainer who was taking us into the water. Amy also told us which of the three dolphins we were going to work with - when she said we were working with Bella, I could not contain my excitement... I dreamt of Bella being the dolphin I would be interacting with as it was my first time interacting with a dolphin.

Bella is a 7 year old female inshore Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin born at the Pet Porpoise Pool - she is one of the stars of all the dolphin experiences there. I met up with the other participants, saw half an hour of the first show then went off to the encounter meeting point. We met up with our first trainer, Amy, who told us which of the dolphins we would be working with (as soon as she said Bella's name, I'm standing there thinking, "OMG! Is this for real???" - it was only then I realised my dream was definitely coming true because it was Bella I had dreamt of doing my first ever interaction with!) then gave us a briefing on where we could touch Bella and where we couldn't then it was time to sanitise our hands and wait for Aaron, the other trainer who was to take us through the interaction. We got to spend the most awesome 20 minutes in the water with Bella - got to feed her, tickle her tongue (and see how she would have suckled when she was a baby - the sides of her tongue are feathered and when she loops her tongue into a circle, the feathered edges link together and form a "straw" where she can take milk from Calamity (her mother)), pat and rub her (both on the back and the belly - another totally useless fact: the way to tell the age of a Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin is to look on their belly - the amount of spots are a indicator of the age.... as Bella is only 7 years old, she still has white patches on her belly... as for her father, Bucky - he is 41 years old and has no white patches left anywhere on his belly), play ball, have a water fight (Aaron sent Bella to me first for my water fight.... I have never laughed so hard in all my life.... I almost fell over), danced with her, heard her sing and got to feel the force with which she can exhale from her blowhole (you definitely don't want to hold your hand any closer than 15cm above her blowhole because if you did, there is a possibility of breaking bones), see her underwater while throwing her a ring and much more... pity it was only 20 minutes... would have loved another 10 minutes.

In all, it was worth it to make new friends - and what wonderful friends they are (Bella, Brittany and Bridget)! A experience I will never forget in a hurry... highly recommended! If you would like to book in for this experience, phone the Pet Porpoise Pool Experiences Bookings department on 66591910 (02 66591910 outside NSW, +61 2 66591910 outside Australia) or 1300KISSES (1300 547737).

Me and Bella hugging during my Shallow Water Dolphin Experience at Dolphin Marine Magic recently