Aren’t Sea Lions food for sharks and are we in any danger?
Yes Sea Lions are a known prey for Sharks, however, the location of the site we visit is not a breeding island. Instead it is a haul out island, meaning mostly older Sea Lions linger there which are less vulnerable than pups. The water is shallow and you are tucked away in a small bay zone where access by sharks is decreased. The shallow water makes it less attractive to larger predators and more difficult to enter.
That perception of danger and the emotion that coming face to face with the puppies of the sea can give you, is why you would want to do this in the ocean and not in a zoo.
Do I need to be a strong swimmer?
The Sea Lion tour is run off of the back of a sheltered island, and the conditions are generally very calm. The Summer months are when we enjoy our best weather and lowest swell for the year, so this will help if you are not confident in the water. Because the Sea Lion tour is at a beach, the water depths vary from a maximum of about 3 metres where the boat is moored, and goes right up to the shallow beach waters. The Island itself is a nature reserve so we aren’t allowed on land, but you are more than welcome to stand, kneel or sit in the shallows, as long as you aren’t towering above a sea lion. We quite regularly get younger passengers, or passengers who aren’t confident swimmers on this tour. We do provide floats, life jackets and other flotation devices to assist you if you require them.
You are also able to book on only as observers (stay on the boat) and upgrade to swimmers if your confidence increases on the day.
Are there photos from the tour available?
We have a camera on board that the crew use to take photos throughout the day. On the Swim with Sea Lions tour one of the crew will use the underwater camera to take photos of you and our playful, sealy friends. On the Swim with Great Whites tour you get to be the photographer! Just ask the crew for the underwater camera to take in the cage with you and take as many pictures as you like of the sharks, your buddies and of course a selfie of you in the cage!
When we get back from the tour the camera is downloaded at ABC headquarters and you will receive an email 2 days after you tour with a link to download the photos. If you do not have an email please let us know.
You are very welcome to bring your own underwater camera/GoPro if you have one. Remember to upload any cool photos or videos you get onto our Facebook page so the other guests who were on the trip with you can share it!
How do I buy a gift voucher?
There are a few ways to buy a gift voucher for someone you love (or hate depending how you look at giving someone a gift to dive with sharks!).
Gift vouchers can be purchased on the website by clicking Gift Vouchers link at the top of the page.
If you would like a voucher with a personal message emailed to you please contact us 08 8682 2979 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there any damage to the marine environment?
The marine environment is sensitive and largely undiscovered. Our policy is to leave things better than when we found it. We have a strict policy of leave with everything you brought and leave nothing behind, taking only photos, videos and memories.
The marine area needs to be protected. Guests are given instruction not to remove or touch any marine grasses, rocks etc. We access the area by boat and therefore do not cause any damage to the seafloor.
Our vessel undergoes an annual survey and we have a strict preventative maintenance schedule that ensures that there is no risk of oil leaks, spills etc. Guests are instructed to swim with the Sea Lions and only interact if the Sea Lions approach them.
What is Adventure Bay Charters commitment toward ecological sustainability?
We aim to undertake continual improvements toward ecological sustainability through the adoption of best practice techniques. We do this by taking feedback from customers, staff as well as general observations and incorporating these into our policies and procedures. We have a strong relationship with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources and ensure that we abide by all current guidelines. We also ensure that at all times we adhere to National Parks and Wildlife Regulations, Marine Parks Regulations and license conditions under the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
Adventure Bay Charters has an environmental management system written specifically for each of its tours. All environmental aspects and impacts are taken into account and this management plan is revised on an annual basis.
Adventure Bay Charters is licensed and operates under the Great White Shark Cage Diving Code of Conduct to promote shark cage diving in South Australia in a professional and responsible manner.
How close can I get to the Australian Sea Lions on tour?
There are some very strict licence conditions and policies on interaction with marine mammals that guide these sorts of activities in South Australia. Through close work with the Department of Environment and Water (DEW), Adventure Bay Charters have been granted exemptions and permissions to get you closer than you can on your own. We are allowed to approach 50 meters by boat and 30 meters in the water. If the Sea Lions then choose to come closer to us then that is entirely on their own desire and whim. We value the natural environment, where we swim with the Sea Lions is classed as a Natural Reserve and therefore we do not allow guests to access the Australian Sea Lions breeding area or hall out beach.
However, you will find that as soon as we anchor at ‘Seal Cove’, the Sea Lions will bound out to greet you and spend the whole hour and a half swimming and entertaining you! Quite often cheekily getting tantalisingly close and on rare but special occasions giving out kisses. Be sure to listen to staff when in the water as they know these puppies better than any one and will show you how to get the closest interactions.
The Sea Lions are wild animals, we do not in any way condone touching these playful creatures but they often come within centimetres of you to say hello.
Does Adventure Bay Charters have a code of conduct for interaction with these marine mammals?
Adventure Bay Charters has a code of conduct that has been designed for your safety as well as for the safety and protection of these magnificent creatures and their environment. It is agreed by the major operators in South Australia that there are practices within this code that are important to all activities relating to swimming with Sea Lions. There are also site specific codes relating to Hopkins Island, Blyth Island and Adventure Bay Charters.
Adventure Bay Charters does not visit a specific site more than 3 times a week to minimise the time that people interact with these wild animals. We do not want to alter their behaviour in anyway.
Will I learn about the Australian Sea Lions?
The tour is interactive and informative and trained guides will give you detailed information about the Australian Sea Lions as well as the other local flora and fauna. Staff are regularly trained to ensure that the information content on tour is true and correct.
Is interaction guaranteed?
Interaction on our sea lion tour is guaranteed.