I work on a boat that takes general public and school groups swimming with wild dolphins and seals near Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Comments: 326 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

PM_me_ur_bag_of_weed70 karma

What is the most intelligent thing you have seen a marine animal do?

sirlincalot77156 karma

I was on a tour when a dolphin was riding our quarter wake(the waves that come off the boat's hull), and it was slapping it's tail on the surface to splash the people on board!

pnicol9156 karma

I guess that since you do this everyday the magic of seeing dolphins in their natural habitat will have slightly worn off for you. What is one thing you see that will never cease to amaze you in your line of work?

sirlincalot7775 karma

Firstly, thanks for the question. Just seeing the dolphins is still amazing, but I think what is the most amazing is how effortlessly the dolphins and seals move through the water.

sheamus31950 karma

Do the Japanese ever interrupt you by killing all the dolphins while you are letting people swim with them?

sirlincalot77108 karma

No. They are generally too busy taking hundreds of photographs.

Wesselhoff48 karma

I've had a bad experience with seals so i'm deathly afraid of em. Are they actually human-eating devils?

sirlincalot7767 karma

It is unfortunate that you have had a bad experience with a seal, but I can guarantee that they are not "human eating devils". They are like playful puppies in the water, especially the younger ones. Where we swim with them is not a breeding colony, it is more like a bachelor pad for all of the males who can't get a harem of females. As a result there is very little aggression between the seals and no blood or anything in the water that might attract sharks.

Poobstar48 karma

Is the whole "dolphins like to hump/rape people" thing really as common as news articles say? From what I've read or seen on video it seems like they are portrayed as the rapiest sex addicts ever. In your experience, how often does this ACTUALLY happen?

sirlincalot7767 karma

When the dolphins are mating, as they currently are, it can best be described as a 'gang rape'. One female swimming along with 4-5 males all around her jostling for best position. They also bit them on the back. As for human/dolphin sex, I have never seen it, but a guy in New Zealand claims to have had a sexual relationship with a dolphin that lasted for years.

cgwhite4447 karma

Do the seals mind when you swim with them? As a follow up, did you swim with the seals when they killed Bin Laden?

sirlincalot7754 karma

The biggest problem is trying to keep up with them. Unfortunately I wasn't with ST6 on that mission :(

coolbeanz236 karma

What is the dumbest thing you've seen a person do while swimming with the dolphins?

sirlincalot7752 karma

Jump in with their mask on top of their head and also try to grab a dolphins tail.

TangoThanato40 karma

Sooo, someone hypothetically forgetting they were further under than their snorkel was long and then trying to breathe is less stupid or so incredibly stupid it has only happened once? I'm asking for a friend. Yeah, definitely for a friend...

sirlincalot7752 karma

Tell your 'friend', that it happens every day.

Bitdecay32 karma


sirlincalot7723 karma


sirlincalot7712 karma


0131415029 karma

Who's smartest, the dolphins or the tourists?

sirlincalot7755 karma

Definitely the dolphins ;)

IvanTortuga25 karma

Okay, so I love snorkelling but I've never been able to find a pair of fins that fit properly. They always rub my Achilles tendon and I end up giving up and going finless. Any brands or tips?

sirlincalot7730 karma

You can buy different thicknesses of booties and socks now to go inside your fins.

ClarityEye24 karma

What! I didn't realise that this was a thing in Melbourne!!

How did you get your job? Would you consider it a dream job?

sirlincalot7730 karma

We are about 1.5 hours from Melbourne, but we have a lot of people come down to do tours. I had been on a tour as a customer and was familiar with the area and snorkeling. When I moved to the area I approached the company and when they were hiring I did the training and got the job. The job is pretty amazing as I get to work on and in the water basically every day. I get to meet loads of interesting people from around the world, but as with all jobs there are cons. Sea sick customers and cold weather being 2of them.

Graysoul18 karma

I lost my left hand to a loose seal that had apparently acquired a taste for mammal blood.

Is this a common occurrence? What is being done to prevent future people from turning into monsters like i've become?

sirlincalot7722 karma

We have stopped people putting their hands in the 'loose' seals.

AeonsApart16 karma

Have there ever been any accidents?

sirlincalot7728 karma

My company has had some minor slips and falls etc, but nothing major.

There was a fatality late last year on another vessel, that runs similar tours however.

pooroldedgar14 karma

Know what happened?

sirlincalot7733 karma

To my knowledge someone ended up in the water when they should not have been and was struck by the prop on the boat.

Flashpoint_Rowsdower13 karma

What is the worst thing your clients have done?

sirlincalot7735 karma

The actual swimming with the dolphins is strictly regulated, with two of the most important rules being that our clients hold on to 'mermaid lines' (ropes that hang from the boat), and that they not touch the dolphins. Once, due mainly to over enthusiasm and a customer not speaking very good English, I had a customer launch them-self from the boat and almost land on a dolphin. This was dangerous for the customer and especially the dolphin. It also scares the dolphins away, stopping others from experiencing them.

aiming-low9 karma

What do you recommend are the 3 best trips to take for snorkeling in Australia? What will I see on each? (1 can be yours, but two have to be someone elses).

sirlincalot7723 karma

I personally have not done any others, but one of my colleagues also works swimming with whale sharks on Ningaloo Reef in the North West of Western Australia and her photos and video footage are absolutely amazing. I guess that the Great Barrier Reef would be worth it, but just to let you know, we have more bio-diversity in Southern Australian Waters than they do up North! EDIT: You can also swim with Great Whites and Tuna in South Australia. They would both be pretty cool.

Randomness64009 karma

Do you have any special memories that you will never forget from snorkeling?

sirlincalot7716 karma

Having a dolphin swim beside you, roll on it's side and eyeball you as if to say 'G'day mate, how are you?' is a pretty unforgettable experience. Catching these on camera is even better because I can then share them with my friends and family.

Boviced3 karma

Care to share the picture?

sirlincalot773 karma

I am uploading a video now. Hopefully it works.

FreshNewSocks9 karma

whats your favorite colour?

sirlincalot7716 karma

Blue is pretty cool.

southernrain8 karma

What's the worst thing you've had to stop someone from doing?

sirlincalot7718 karma

Jumping on the dolphins is a big no no.

NeedYourKarma6 karma

Scariest moment under water?

I'm looking for sharks, orcas, and krakens. Anything like that?

sirlincalot779 karma

Sorry mate, none of the above. All pretty sedate really. I did come face to face with a stingray that was about 8feet wide. I got out from under the pier pretty quickly.

suddenswimmingpotato6 karma

what is the dumbest thing someone has said about one of the animals?

sirlincalot7712 karma

People are always saying that a seal or a dolphin touched them. I swim with them almost every day and have never been touched by either a seal or dolphin.

buffylove6 karma

I want to do this so bad! But, what about sharks? Do they ever come where you are snorkelling? This is terrifying!

sirlincalot7717 karma

Sharks are something that we get asked about on a daily basis, and I used to be able to say that I had never seen any that I would consider 'dangerous' inside the bay where we operate. About 3 months ago however, I was lucky enough to see a 6 foot hammerhead shark on one of our tours. It was unusual to see one inside the bay, and although the customers saw it, we completed an activity that involved jumping from the roof and swimming to shore, and not one person hesitated to jump.

lilgremmy4 karma

As an employee in the Australian marine industry, what do you think about WA's shark nets/cull? Do you worry about sharks when you take your clients out? You're in the water every working day so you seem like someone who knows their shit about this issue.

sirlincalot7718 karma

It's a complex issue and I personally don't agree with it. It makes no sense to me to put baits 1km off-shore which I believe is only going to lure sharks closer. On the other hand, they have been doing it in Queensland for years. When we go into their environment it is the risk you take. I wouldn't expect to walk across the savannahs of Africa and not get attacked by something. Don't get me wrong, if I got attacked, I would be pissed, but there is no point thinking about it. I have a greater chance of being in a serious car accident on the way to work than being bitten by a noah.

Ysasmendi4 karma

What are some do's and don'ts of snorkeling?

sirlincalot779 karma

Do's: -Stay horizontal on the surface, -Have a buddy, -Keep the strap up high on the back of your head, -Relax Do nots: -Have hair in your mask, -Breathe through your nose,

ProbeOne4 karma

Do you take a school group out all by yourself?

What kind of certifications do you need to use scuba gear and dive in Oz?

What kind of boat? Or just tell people to stand at the shore line and lay face down in the tide?

sirlincalot7716 karma

Our school groups are generally between 20 and 30 students and our ratio of Supervisor/Client is 1/10, so we don't generally run with less than 10 people. For between 10-20 customers we require 2 supervisors and for 20-30 we need 3 supervisors.
We use a boat that was initially a passenger ferry, but has been retro-fitted specifically for dolphin swimming tours. As far as certifications are concerned, I have a Snorkel Supervisor Certificate that allows me to take people snorkeling, but I also have a Surf Bronze Medallion and Level 2 First Aid to work on my particular boat. An Open Water Dive certification is not necessary for my job, but it does allow you to SCUBA in Australia. A lot of my colleagues have their Open Water, and I am going for mine in a few weeks. Hope this has answered your questions satisfactorily.

ProbeOne2 karma

Absolutely. How does one earn a surf bronze medallion and what does it mean?

sirlincalot775 karma

A Surf Bronze Medallion allows you to be an active (patrolling) member of a surf club. There are certain pre-requisets to start the course, and to complete it you must complete a number of written and practical tests, including rescues and swims. Find more information here: http://www.lifesavingvictoria.com.au/www/html/157-join-a-life-saving-club.asp Hope it's OK to post a link.

ProbeOne4 karma

Oh nice, I didn't know what to think but that clears it up. Have you ever raced an inflatable boat? Rescued anyone recently?

sirlincalot7710 karma

99% of my job is making sure I don't need to rescue people. I do this by keeping everyone close by and assisting those who need it.

themiddlefinger3 karma

Have you seen The Cove?

sirlincalot776 karma

Yes. It is disturbing.

trapkingxo3 karma

Hey. Dolphins are pretty cool, what's the least favorite thing about the job?

sirlincalot778 karma

Cold Southerly winds.

MikeWill69You2 karma

Do dolphins really rape people?

sirlincalot773 karma

Not to my knowledge.

pooroldedgar2 karma

Have you been following the recent movement criticaand of marine kept penned to perform for people? There was PETA's attempt to get orcas treated as people (or something like that) and also the movies The Cove and Blackfish. Thoughts on the matter?

sirlincalot7719 karma

This is a hard one. Seeing dolphins and seals in their natural environment is spectacular, and something that I am privileged to be able to do almost daily. Unfortunately not everyone has the opportunity or the inclination to share this experience. Although having wild animals captive is a good way for people to come into contact with them, it is generally detrimental to the mental and physical well-being of the animal.

blahblah56782 karma

Seeing as you answered practically every question in this thread...Ever used the job to pick up chicks? Or ask a customer out, something of that nature?

sirlincalot772 karma

I think it would be be possible, as there are lots of tourists having a good time etc. But most of the crew members are in long term relationships or are married.

SabadoGiganteDeenz2 karma

If I snorkel without a supervisor will I have a bad time?

sirlincalot772 karma

Depends where you go.

Endyf2 karma

I'm a massive fan of seals, are they easy to swim with? I live in the UK and am considering trying it here.

sirlincalot775 karma

The seals that we swim with are a bachelor herd miles from the land, so they are pretty relaxed and playful. Seals can be aggressive around breeding colonies though, so be very careful.

HaplessPenguin2 karma

I'm quitting my job as an IT manager to do something else. I just got back from the Caribbean and want to move there doing exactly this. My question is in a place like Australia, (I apologize for asking a personal question) but how much money can you make in a week doing this? Are you a mate on a boat? Do you work on tips or a paycheck? Do you work a second job to make more? What is your living situation like?

Finally, is this a hard job to get?

sirlincalot773 karma

This is not a job to have if you want to make a lot of money. The pay is not bad, but the work is generally casual and seasonal. I am fortunate in that I am a teacher and can do relief teaching during the colder off-season when we do not run tours. I have been lucky enough to get work at a few different places as a snorkel supervisor which makes ends meet most of the time. Once you have the correct certification you can get your name out there for work, but you also need to have a good knowledge of the areas that you are planning to work in, history, flora and fauna etc.

crimsonpalisade1 karma

Do you know Dr Carol Scarpaci PhD of Victoria University? Also Have you read this article? And finally, what method do you use to approach and initiate interaction with dolphins?

sirlincalot772 karma

I am not familiar with Dr Scarpaci or the article that you linked. Due to the age of the article and the research however, I believe that the regulations in place at that time(which were probably not very thorough), would have been superseded by the Wildlife (Marine Mammals) Regulations of 2009, which are the regulations that we adhere to. The things mentioned in the article are probably the reason why the regulations are so tight now.

WolfgangAmadeusMoz1 karma

What are your opinions on places like sea world?

sirlincalot772 karma

This is a hard one. Seeing dolphins and seals in their natural environment is spectacular, and something that I am privileged to be able to do almost daily. Unfortunately not everyone has the opportunity or the inclination to share this experience. Although having wild animals captive is a good way for people to come into contact with them, it is generally detrimental to the mental and physical well-being of the animal.

Sunshinexpress1 karma

Can we switch jobs? I work in a cubicle. It's a blast.

sirlincalot772 karma

No. Sorry.

germinik1 karma

what's your worst experience out on the water?

sirlincalot772 karma

Haven't really had one.

Monochromatic_Friend1 karma

Damn this would be a dream job! Where about do you do it? I live in Geelong and have done the dolphin/Sean swim in the bay, it was awesome! Sean with the seals at Chinaman's Hat! (I think that's what it's called) What did you study? And how did you get the job?!

Edit: I got excited and now I've read your other replies, seems like you just completed training? What training would this be and with which company?

sirlincalot772 karma

The company that does the training is 'Sea All Dolphin Swims', and that is also who I work for. I am at the end of my second season, but I think there is another snorkel supervisor course in the next few weeks. I am also a qualified teacher.

twixtwix1 karma

What do you think of swimming with captive dolphins?

sirlincalot772 karma

This is a hard one. Seeing dolphins and seals in their natural environment is spectacular, and something that I am privileged to be able to do almost daily. Unfortunately not everyone has the opportunity or the inclination to share this experience. Although having wild animals captive is a good way for people to come into contact with them, it is generally detrimental to the mental and physical well-being of the animal.

KridaMcNinja1 karma

I've heard that you need to be very careful swimming with dolphins, as they can act up aggressively. Have you seen this happen? I have also heard that women should not swim with dolphins on their cycles. Is this something you can confirm or deny?

sirlincalot772 karma

I have never seen any aggression from the dolphins at all.

G8kpr1 karma

My coworker went to swim with the dolphins in the Dominican Republic. He said he had to sign a waiver that these are wild animals and they are not responsible for injury that they may cause.

Have you ever seen a dolphin injure someone?

sirlincalot772 karma

I have never seen any aggression from the dolphins at all.

Poonjangles0 karma

Are y'all hiring? I love snorkeling and would move to Australia in a jiffy if I could make it my job.

sirlincalot771 karma

Sorry mate, not currently.

pewfswagger-1 karma

have you ever jacked one off?

sirlincalot775 karma

No. Not on the first date anyway.

the_truth_here-1 karma

Is dolphin meat as delicious as the japanese claim?

sirlincalot774 karma

I do not know, I don't eat sea-food.

BobOlson-19 karma

Leave the animals alone and get a real job.

sirlincalot779 karma