Welcome to Monkey Mia!
The Dolphins Experience at Monkey Mia doesn’t follow a set schedule. The feeds only happen if the dolphins come to the beach area, up to 3 times per morning. The Rangers can recognize the dolphins by the shape and marks on their dorsal fin.
No one has touched the dolphins in over 15 years. It irritates their skin, but mainly the rangers want to keep them “wild” animals, without unnecessary human contact or dependencies.
Once the ranger is in the water and start the experience, everything needs to happen within a given timeline. Fish prep and feed had to take place within 15min. So that the dolphins don’t stay away from their calves or the rest of the group for too long.
Dolphins can only get up to 500g of fish per feed, so a total of 1.5kg if it comes for the 3 feeds. This way the feeds only account for a maximum of 10% of what an adult dolphin need – about 12kg/day – so they have to keep hunting on their own.
There are over 40 regular dolphins visiting Monkey Mia all year long. However, not all of them can get a free snack. Rangers have selected 5 females that presented the right behavior and that kept breeding properly even with the human interactions. So even if 10 dolphins came but none are the selected 5, the feed wouldn’t take place.
It’s now 8.30 and the first feed is over. We will be watching the horizon for the rest of the morning to see if the dolphins come back for a 2nd and 3rd experience. Time to drink some coffee 🙂
Being on the “staff” side of this tourist attraction was a very interesting experience.
- Stating the obvious, we spend much more time with the dolphins than anybody else!
- We also had a good rhythm: be at the fish room at 7.30, get off at 1pm and do a bit of Woofing for the camping, ie get free accommodation in exchange for 1.30h of swiping and cleaning everyday. We had free time left and really enjoyed it, rather than lingering all day on the beach or at the restaurant.
- We enjoyed perks, like discounts here and there and even a free cruise on the catamaran.
- Lastly we stayed for 6 nights, so we got to know people. We made new friends among the vollies, but also got to know the rangers, the general manager, the cleaners and bar tenders by their names and this made the experience much more personal.
We weren’t just customers, we were part of something.