Preamble: It has taken me a long time to get around to posting about Tin Can Bay's major natural tourist attraction. I send all my visitors around to see this but seldom go by myself. However, this was one thing that convinced me that this would be a great place to live – water clean and quiet enough for these beautiful creatures would definitely be clean enough for me!
Some years ago an Indo-pacific Humpback Dolphin was injured in the Tin Can Bay area. The fishermen down at Snapper Creek fed the dolphin until it recovered and was able to completely look after itself again. However, a pattern was set and the dolphin returned on most mornings for a free feed. This is the basic story that all agree on, but since records were not kept the details vary slightly. I was originally told that the injured dolphin was a female – Scarry - and she brought her next calf with her. Scarry had disappeared some weeks before I came to this area but her calf – now a full-grown male named Mistique - continued to come in for his free feed. In the past 5 years Mistique has become the dominant male in his group and now brings in a female, Patch, and another young male, Harmony. Ever since I have been here the dolphin feeding and viewing has been carefully managed and monitored. About a year ago the Queensland government stepped in and approved a new management plan. The dolphins are fed at the same time each morning. They may come a little earlier – or not at all some mornings. They only get 3 kgs of fish which is a mere snack compared with their total intake each day. There is a dedicated band of volunteers who organize and manage all visitors. The rules are strict! Wash your hands before coming into the water. Do not touch the dolphins at all. If they touch you that is OK. The result is a great experience of wild dolphins who eagerly come in for a few fish and then quickly disappear for the rest of the day.
For more information see: http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/nature_conservation/wildlife/az_of_animals/indopacific_humpback_dolphin/
This is what it was like yesterday morning: