Unlike many other operations where tourists get to touch the dolphins, hang on to them, play tricks with them, etc., Rockingham Wild Encounters is about interacting with wild dolphins in their own habitat. That means you get in the water and be respectful, simply floating and watching as the dolphins swim and play around you. There is no touching, no feeding, no playing with them, nothing that would interfere with their normal routine. It is an opportunity just to observe up close. This is essential to the RWE experience, since a large component of these swim trips is learning not only about the dolphins themselves (and the staff recognizes each and every one of the 200 or so that might swim up to the boat on any given day since they have been doing this for 17 years), but about their daily lives, their individual histories, and about their environment and the challenges facing them.
That might sound boring to some readers, hoping for a chance to pet the dolphins, or at least hang on to their dorsal fin for a fun ride, but to be honest, the experience was so simple, pure and exhilirating, I can't imagine how anything else could compete. The dolphins were so playful yet graceful. Majestic, but smiling. I feel--and I am not the kind of person that talks this way usually--that the good vibes they sent out into the water resonated through me and carried me around in a aura of positivity for days afterwards. Then again, that might have been the fantastic Margaret River wines we tried (more on those in a later post), but there was something extremely moving about my experience in the water.