We’ve been in Tin Can Bay for two nights. It’s a very small town on the coast, surrounded by mangrove forest and mud flats. The main reason to visit here is the wild dolphin that comes in to the marina most mornings, and which visitors can feed. We went both mornings that we’ve been here – yesterday (Sunday) and today. Both mornings there were about 30 visitors, all sitting on the dockside waiting for the dolphin to arrive, sometime between 8 and 10am – if it feels like visiting. We were lucky enough to see it both times, and we all waded knee deep in the water to watch it (along with 20 others, forming a line along the small beach). The dolphin noses around for a while, and then people are allowed to feed it with fish they buy from the café (yes, it’s a business thing, but it also means that they can control the amount it gets – in total it receives 3Kg of fish during the feeding, and it has to find the other 15Kg it needs for its diet elsewhere).
As you can imagine, the girls were very excited, and a little nervous. We waited until the feeding frenzy had died down (ie all the long line of visitors jockeying to be ‘next’ to feed the dolphin had all used up their fish), so that the girls could feed the dolphin without being pushed around, and then they both had the chance to hold a fish just under the surface, and the dolphin came right up to take it from their hands.
Unfortunately when it came around to Emily’s turn the fish slipped from her hands and dropped down into the water – which made the dolphin come in very close, as you can see on the photo. Charlotte thought that was great, but Emily seemed a little nervous to be staring at quite so many teeth coming out of the water towards her!
All in all, it was pretty magical start to the day for all of us. We even managed to avoid the ‘attack of the pelicans’ – the fish attracts quite a few pelicans, a couple of whom get into the middle of the crowd to get at the fish being held out for the dolphin. At one point a particularly aggressive pelican dived at a fish being held by a small boy, which resulted in a big scene as his Mum and Dad tried to get the fish back (no chance of course!).
On a complete tangent, Tin Can Bay dolphin feeding also gave another illustration of the way that Australians use the English language. There seems no holds barred on swearing, from simple everyday conversations, to advertising, to the radio (we listened to a programme on ABC where the author being interviewed used almost every single four letter word we knew – and so did the presenter – at 4 o’clock in the afternoon). So it was no surprise at all to see this sign out the front of the café at Tin Can Bay.
Later in our stay in Oz, I will write some more about their language, but I’ve got to work out how to do that on a public website – some of the language I’ve heard here wouldn’t be right for a ‘family oriented’ site!