“We look like a shipwreck disaster” joked my snorkel guide as I hung on to a life belt in the ocean off the Mornington Peninsula.
Of course we hadn’t been in a ship wreck, and I wasn’t in any danger. I was on the Moonraker Dolphin & Seal Swim, which departs from Sorrento Pier on the Mornington Peninsula in Australia.
The water was a little choppy, and I was holding on to the life belt so I could get a closer look at the Australian Fur Seals that chill out at Chinaman’s Hat. This octagonal wooden structure in Port Phillip Bay is literally covered in seals, so it’s a great place to get up close to these playful creatures. Occasionally one or two of them will jump into the water, and if you pop your snorkel on you can see them gliding around underwater. They look so beautiful as they swim around beneath you.
Seals are some of the many sea creatures you can see on the Mornington Peninsula. This beautiful area is located south-east of Melbourne in the state of Victoria, and is surrounded by water. So it’s not surprising that many of the things to do here centre around the ocean.
Dolphin & Seal Sightsee Cruise:
One thing I have learnt about Melbourne is that the weather can be quite changeable, and on this particular day the weather was unfortunately rather drab. After days of warm sunshine, the grey clouds came and it turned rather chilly. There’s nothing you can do about the weather, and I would rather be out doing something than stuck indoors!
I met the boat at 9am at the end of Sorrento Pier, where I was sized up for a wetsuit and flippers. I was actually given two wetsuits- a full wetsuit and a shorty to tighten everything up since the full one was a little too big. Once we were out in the water I was really glad of this because they kept me nice and warm!
Onboard the boat we were given complimentary soft drinks and listened to instructions from our 2 snorkel guides. All the staff were so friendly and helpful, so if you aren’t a confident swimmer you would definitely be put at ease.
First we visited the seals at Chinaman’s Hat, and I must say they smell quite bad from the boat! But once you’re in the water you can’t smell anything, and they are so entertaining to watch. One appeared to be having an argument with another seal, and ended up toppling backwards off the structure! If you need a rest you can hold onto the life rings, and since the water was quite choppy I was glad of the support so I didn’t get tired.
Once we clambered back on board, we were given complimentary teas, coffee and hot chocolates to warm us up. The kiosk also sells snacks like chocolate, chips and noodles if you’re feeling peckish.
Next we cruised across the bay in search of the bottlenose dolphins. In the meantime we stopped at Portsea and hopped back in the water to look for sea dragons. I had never seen one before, but they look a bit like leafy sea horses. One of the snorkel guides spotted one, and I swam over to take a look. The sea dragons are camouflaged really well and blend in so easily with the seaweed! Don’t I look sexy in my snorkel and flippers?!
As we made our way back towards Sorrento we kept our eyes peeled for the dolphins, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. They are wild animals after all, and it’s never a guarantee. If you are unlucky and don’t see any dolphins, you are given a 50% discount off the price of another dolphin swim, so you can always come back another day.
I still had a fantastic morning on the Mornington Peninsula dolphin swim, and there is even a hot shower on board with shampoo and conditioner if you want to clean yourself up after the swim. While dolphins are usually the star attraction, I have always preferred swimming with seals because they are just so playful and friendly.
Many thanks to Visit Victoria for organising the Moonraker Charters Dolphin & Seal Swim. All opinions are my own. The Moonraker 3-hour tour departs from Sorrento Pier at 9am and 1pm. Adults cost $125 AUD and Children cost $115 AUD.