Australians are a water-loving bunch and love nothing more than getting in the pool, ocean or lake to swim. So which type of Australian swimmer are you – swimming with the dolphins or going shark diving?
Swimming with the dolphins means you enjoy a leisurely swim and take your time in the water. You’re relaxed and happy to enjoy a good swim without any drama. Swimming with the dolphins is more about enjoying the company of other swimmers and sharing the experience.
Shark diving, on the other hand, is all about excitement. You want to feel an adrenalin rush as you encounter a shark in its natural environment. Shark diving is all about adventure and feeling like you’re conquering your fears.
Did you know this about Aussie Fish?
Every year, more than 30,000 humpback whales journey north from Antarctica along the east coast of Australia to the warm waters of Queensland’s Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast. Here, they mate, calve, and nurture their newborns, and you can join the action on guided snorkelling expeditions.
Australia is among a handful of countries where you can swim with humpbacks, allowing you to step off a boat, slide into the ocean and watch these gentle giants. Some measure 18 metres (60 feet) in length and weigh 30,000 kilograms (66,000 pounds). You might hear the males sing their courtship songs and feel the pull of the ocean as they glide through the water; then surface to watch them blowing their breath off your boat’s bow.
Top tip: Treat yourself to a night of luxury glamping during your visit to Exmouth!
Measuring up to 10 metres (32 feet) long, whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea. These enormous creatures are filter feeders, which means they sieve plankton through their gills come mealtime. And there’s plenty of plankton on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef during coral spawning season, which draws these dappled creatures en masse. Come mask-to-fin with them during a snorkelling tour from Exmouth; if you time your visit right, you might even spot migrating humpback whales simultaneously.
The Neptune Islands, off South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, set the scene for a swim that’ll get your heart racing. Great white sharks come here to feed on the resident fur seals, and you can safely glimpse these apex predators, which grow up to 4.5 metres (14 feet) in length! At close range from the comfort of a highly secure underwater cage. With no scuba diving experience necessary for tours departing Port Lincoln, a seven-hour road trip west of Adelaide, it’s an adrenaline rush you won’t forget.
Top tip: You don’t need to swim to see bottlenose dolphins! In Monkey Mia, on Western Australia’s Coral Coast, they come to the shore to interact with people every day.
Dolphins are friendly and inquisitive even when you’re watching them from a boat; you’ll quickly become part of their pod when you’re in the water. Port Stephens, 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of Sydney, is known as the country’s dolphin capital, with more than 140 bottlenose dolphins calling its immense harbour home and pods of common dolphins often found outside the bay. This is the only place in New South Wales you can swim with the magical mammals on an organised tour, but you can also meet them around Queenscliff in Port Phillip Bay, south of Melbourne, and in Bunbury, 170 kilometres (106 miles) south of Perth.
The Elephant in the Room: Which Type of Swimmer are You?
The best answer by an Australian Water-loving Traveller: Why not Both!
“I love dolphins and sharks. I’ve had the honour of travelling with them in their natural habitat for many years. I was fortunate to get to know some of their family members that are no longer with us.
I love being close to the ocean and the water. I enjoy watching dolphins. There’s something about these gentle creatures that makes me feel happy. I’m very moved when I watch them play and interact together.
For me, the ocean is a magical place. I love some things about it, but I feel that we are taking it for granted and overusing it. We need to protect the ocean where we live. I grew up in Florida. When I was a child, I spent my summers diving into the Atlantic Ocean. I’ve spent a lot of time with dolphins in the ocean. I’ve been honoured to swim with them, and I’ve had the opportunity to learn from them. I was so impressed by their intelligence. I love them!
The ocean is home to me. I’ve spent a lot of time with sharks. I’ve been very fortunate to have had the chance to interact with them. I’ve learned a lot about them. I love sharks and have had the privilege of travelling with them. I’ve seen them in a variety of environments. Some are gentle as dolphins; others are as scary as a lion. I’ve had the chance to swim with them. I’ve snorkelled with them. I’ve been able to watch them. I’ve been able to learn from them. I’ve learned that they are as intelligent as dolphins and can be as gentle as a puppy. I’ve also learned that they are as scary as a lion – sometimes they are aggressive!”
Dolphins are marine mammals belonging to the cetacean group and, more precisely, the odontocetes (or toothed whale) group. They spend their entire lives in the water, but they have to periodically surface to breathe through their blowhole.
Let’s now look at some curiosities about these amazing animals:
-Dolphins are mammals, just like us.
-They have two sets of teeth: a lower set of grinders for chewing food and an upper set of canines used for biting.
-Their skin is covered with a thick layer of blubber, and their muscles are covered with a thick layer of fat.
-They have a heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.
-They are warm-blooded, just like us.
-They are social mammals living in family groups called pods.
-Dolphins have a good memory – they can recognize each other by the shape of their face.
-Dolphins are closely related to whales and porpoises.
-They are the only species that can see both the left and right sides of their body.
-There are more than 30 species of dolphins.
-Their brains are larger than ours, and they have a better sense of smell than we do.
-They communicate with each other by making sounds, whistles, and clicks.
-They communicate by using their eyes, ALSO!
-They are very social animals.
-Dolphins and other toothed whales use echolocation to communicate with each other.
-They can locate objects that are hundreds of feet deep.
-They are also known to be one of the most intelligent species on the planet.
Sharks are one of the most feared animals on the planet. Movies like Jaws have perpetuated the myth that sharks are these blood-thirsty man-eaters, but they are far more complex and interesting creatures in reality. In this article, we will explore the world of sharks and dispel some of the myths that surround them.
Sharks have been around for over 400 million years, making them one of the oldest living species on Earth. There are currently over 470 different species of sharks, which can be divided into cartilaginous and bony fish. Cartilaginous fish (which include sharks and rays) have a skeleton made of cartilage, while bony fish have a skeleton made of bone. And we thought you might have guessed that already by their classification name!
-The gills are located on their sides.
-The shark’s heart is located in the middle of its chest.
-Their lungs are located on their sides.
-The shark’s brain is located in its head.
-Their stomach is located on the lower part of their belly.
-They have a layer of skin on their body.
-They have four-gill slits on their sides.
-They have jaw canals.
-They have no eyelids.
-They are the only fish that can turn their eyes both to the right and to the left.
-They cannot swim backwards.
-They have a row of tiny teeth on the front of their mouth.
-They have a layer of skin on their tail.
-Their eyes are made of a jelly-like substance called elasmoblasts.
-Their teeth are made of bone, and they are not sharp.
-They have a layer of skin on the top of their head.
So, which type of swimmer are you? For me, I’m a bit of everything. I love dolphins and sharks. I’ve had the honour of travelling with them from time to time. Australia is home to all the water-y delicacies one can find for holidays, and our mammals make it all the more interesting! I’m a water lover, and I can’t imagine life without it. The oceans are the places I’d love to visit most. I’d love to go to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the most amazing places on Earth! Where will you wanna go?