3-Hour Dolphin and Seal Swim Tour
Take the plunge and open your eyes to another world
At a Glance
Enjoy this life-changing experience with the original dolphin swim operator, swimming alongside dolphins in their natural habitat, wild and free.
Witness the transformation of a seal from awkward on land, to awe-inspiring in the water, as it swims circles around you.
Come face to face with the largest saltwater sting-ray in the world and see for yourself how docile and friendly they really are.
Swim tours are an unexpectedly adventurous experience. While we are interacting with wild animals in the open water, our 35 years of operating and experienced and qualified crew ensure encounters are carried out in a supportive and inclusive manner with an emphasis on safety and having fun.
Step off the boat with a deeper understanding and connection to Melbourne’s Beating Blue Heart and its iconic wildlife.
Tours depart from Sorrento pier daily mid-September to the end of May at 8 am and 12 pm.
Check-in is 30 minutes prior to departure.
Due to the small group sizes, bookings are essential.
In more detail
Dolphin and seal swim tours begin 30 minutes prior to departure times when you meet our friendly and experienced crew to check-in and be fitted with a quality wetsuit that is right for you.
Once onboard, a detailed briefing is provided that covers important safety information, what you might expect from the tour and well researched relevant information regarding Port Phillip Bay, its wildlife and the regulations which govern operations.
Tour supervisors ’walk’ you through how we conduct swims step by step and ensure that all gear is properly fitted and that you know how to use it correctly. Crew use demonstrations to support their messaging.
Getting to know you
Following briefings, crew check to see if everyone is confident and comfortable and have understood the information imparted.
Tours are structured but the itineraries are dictated by the conditions on the day and the behaviour of the marine mammals that are the focus of the tour.
Finding the dolphins
When the dolphins are located, we initially observe their behaviour from the deck. The crew have many years of experience observing the dolphins’ various types of behaviour. An in-depth knowledge is essential to conducting interactions in a sensitive manner.
Swimming with the dolphins
When conducting a dolphin swim, you slide into the water from the dive platform and hold onto the mermaid lines trailing behind the vessel, letting the dolphins come to you. For many, spending time with the dolphins in their natural habitat can be a revelatory experience.
Dolphin Swim Regulations
Under our dolphin swim permit conditions, only 10 swimmers (plus any snorkel instructors) are allowed in the water at any one time during a dolphin swim.
Polperro Dolphin Swims introduced the use of mermaid lines as we recognised that they were not only a safety feature for our passengers, but that they also ensured the dolphins were not being forced to interact by swimmers chasing them. These buoyed lines assist in giving the dolphins the ‘choice’ to interact and we have found that the dolphins are much more willing to approach within the controlled and predictable situation that they create. These mermaid lines are now part of the dolphin swim permit regulations.
An unexpected favourite
Swimming and viewing Australian fur seals, despite the dolphins’ appeal, is often the highlight of the tour for many. The shallow water, regular presence of large smooth rays and nature and disposition of the seals make for a truly memorable wildlife interaction.
The conditions on the day
Polperro makes an effort to enhance the experience by taking into account the state of the tide, the weather and the presence of other operators while deciding when to conduct a seal swim. We will often prioritise the seals on a tour when the conditions for a seal swim are ideal.
How we operate swims
Swims are conducted in accordance with state wildlife regulations. We also go beyond these regulations and abide by a seal code of conduct which we believe greater protects the seals, but also allows for better interactions. We deploy the mermaid lines when conducting seal swims, although on most occasions you will leave the lines once the crew have checked everyone is comfortable to do so. Instructors are with swimmers at all times, and more nervous swimmers are provided with one on one attention and access to flotation aids.
Snorkelling the Great Southern reefs
While the Bay’s seals and dolphins might be the centre-piece of our trips and our priority, other activities and attractions on offer in the southern waters of the Bay provide for a quality experience. Snorkelling Pope’s Eye Marine Park or looking for weedy sea dragons in the nearshore reefs are also often part of our dolphin and seal swim tours. People are surprised by what they see through the lens of their mask and the passion of the crew is infectious.
A Personalised Experience in Nature
In keeping with our tradition of providing personalised care and delivering a genuine ecotourism experience, Polperro purposely limits the number of swimmers on our dolphin and seal swim tours for the public to 20 or less. We believe that this practice of operating below our physical and legal limits means that we can conduct our interactions more safely and efficiently and with less pressure on the dolphins, seals.
What if I don’t see Dolphins?
If you do not have the opportunity to swim with the dolphins on your tour, you can return at the
discounted price of $92.50. This discounted fare does not have an expiry date so can be used at a time that suits you. In the unlikely event that you miss out again; the next trip is free.