#16 Feed the dolphins at Tangalooma Reef

A few years ago I saw that my friend Lucy and her family had been on a trip to feed dolphins. I loved the idea of this and instantly added it to my bucket list, where it’s been sitting for a few years now – in fact my friend has emigrated and had another child in the meantime!

The other weekend I headed over to the beautiful Moreton Island with my friend and gal-pal-adventurer Esther.

Moreton is the 3rd largest sand island in the world, approximately 10km across at it’s widest point and it’s highest point is just over 260m I believe – you may need to fact check me though as I’m writing this from memory.

We jetted over to the Island on a catamaran to the island resort Tangalooma, where the beautiful beach greeted us…

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Along with these friendly fellow – I love Pelicans.

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And yet more beach…

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We started the day strong with coffee, cake and a hoard of trashy magazines.

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Whilst looking out over yet more beach…

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It was the perfect day, with just the right amount of cloud, warm but not burny or sweaty. So we trooped off to find our own spot of the beach away from the main resort.

Oh look another picture of the beach –

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After a wonderfully relaxing morning we grabbed a late lunch and I had an obligatory ice cream.

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With another couple of hours before the dolphin feeding began and being such a lovely day we explored (a very small amount) and plonked back down on the beach. It was so wonderful just doing NOTHING! I felt like I was on vacation, it was brilliant!

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At 6pm it was time to report to the jetty for the all-important activity! As expected it was pretty over-run by Chinese tourists.

They lined buckets of fish and handwash along the beach. The dolphins have been coming to Tangalooma for 20 years and it had an internationally recognized program – you read about it on the resort website.

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The dolphins actually line up to be fed! To ensure that the dolphins don;t become dependent on the feeding events they only feed them 10% of their daily intake.

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By this time it was a bit nippy, but you stand in the shallows for a little while beforehand so acclimatize. It’s quite a funny experience standing in knee-high water grasping a herring!

It was all over very quickly, you reach down to feed them and then woosh the fish is gone! We had a cheeky male that was trying to nip in and steal extra food, so had to be quite fast.

Once we had fed our dolphins we retreated to the jetty to get dried and dressed before hopping on the boat home.

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All in all a great day, although I would say more-so for the relaxing beach day than anything else. I’m also not very comfortable with the idea of humans feeding animals but still trying to refer to them as being wild. It is good that they have a program running there though, as we heard that over 10% of the dolphins locally are partially entangled with finishing wire, as over-fishing as resulted in them looking to the fishing boats for food as they draw fish in. The fishing wire can easily cut fins and tails off and kill the dolphins. The Tangalooma centre has the facilities to care for injured dolphins before releasing them back into the wild and they are checked before every event i.e. every night.

On the way back the journey made me feel rather ill – not good with boats, so I retreated out to the upper deck, which had the advantage of having great views of the docks coming back into town. They are actually really quite pretty.

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