Today is a special day. Not only is Scarlet now 7 months old but we are headed to the Barnacles Dolfin Centre!
This fantastic group of volunteers has taken on the responsibility of helping to keep this rare species of Australian Humpback Dolfin safe due to a set of circumstances that have brought them to this little cafe on the shores of this little bay.
These wild dolphins came to this little spot first in 1950, as one was injured and beached himself in front of the cafe. The locals began to feed him and named him “Ols Scarry”, for the battle scars seen on his body. After gaining his strength, he returned to the wild but continued to visit for free fish.
Some years later another dolphin began to visit the same location, “Scary” and she began to bring her calf in 1991. The calf “Mystique” is now the Alpha leader of the pod and visits the bay daily for a free meal and other members of the pod can be seen as well.
It should be mentioned again that these are WILD dolphins. There hare heavy fine for anyone who touches or swims with these rare creatures. They are fed 1/8th of their daily intake and are fed ONLY fish that are caught in the estuary they feed in. This experience is heavily controlled for the safety of the dolphins.
Despite waking at 6, skipping breakfast and heading straight over, we still had quite the line of people in front of us.
Members of the pod usually show up around 7 am and feeding starts at 8 am. Naturally, holidays and weekends are busier and I recommend you show up no later than 6:30. Currently (as of April 2017) the cost of entry is $5 per person and $5 per fish.
Since the amount of fish is limited for each dolphin the staff proposed that today, with the LARGE number of people, that we all let the children have the opportunity first.
We were fortunate enough to have Mystique and his son Harmony come and visit today.
Once 7 am arrives, small groups of people are lead onto the shore (after removing shoes and sanitizing hands). There the volunteers, who are also standing in the water will tell you about the dolphins.
After getting up close we waited around until feeding time at 8 am.
Here, Roland is handing Kevin his Fish Ticket so that he can feed the dolphins.
The volunteers helped us to hold the fish just right, head first so Harmony could have his breakfast. I was just amazed at how gentle he was. Gingerly taking the fish from Roland.
Roland even managed to score another fish from a large family with 8 children. When Mom saw Roland wanted another fish, she insisted he have one of hers and off we went to feed Mystique.
I’m telling you, this kid gets soooo many free things. He doesn’t know how lucky he truly is.
A few things to note about visiting the dolphins.
1. Get there early
2. They are wild and may not be there every day.
3. Flash photography is like an arc welder to their eyes (Blindly Bright)
4. Put the phone on Airplane Mode. Your phone going off (even in silent mode) will disrupt their sonar and could scare them off for the day.
5. The Barnacles Cafe serves an amazing breakfast so stick around and enjoy your time in Tin Can Bay. There is also a public pool and park.
As we drove out of Tin Can Bay we were treated to many more wonderful sights of Australia. I have seen several wonderful murals in the small towns we pass through.
The signs continue to entertain us, this time intentionally!
We also made a side trip into Woolworths to restock
So you know those pictures of toddlers left alone for just a few minutes. The ones where they cause a disastrous mess. Flour all over the kitchen, markers on siblings, bum cream.
Well, I know this camper will never be the same after Roland has been living in it for 6 weeks.
One of the signs we have seen a few time is Wild Cows
Today I’m pretty sure we actually saw some! No, I didn’t get a picture of them but Dan starts referencing the song “Wild Boys”. I didn’t know it and had no signal to look it up. He wanted to be funny and start singing “Wild Cows”.
Tonight we stopped in “Green Achers” for the night and as I come back from a short walk I can hear music coming from the camper.
Apparently, all he did was turn on the radio and there it was. I had no words when I walked in and heard this.