The Dolphin Reef EilatEilat travel guide
The dolphin reef beach is a private beach, offering a diversity of services, such as bathrooms and showers, restaurant, diving courses, swimming and diving with dolphins and a lot more.
The beach itself is not very big, but the golden sand compensate you for the little round stones covering the other Eilatian beaches.
As soon as you enter the beach, you see the defined area, in which the dolphins are swimming.
For the time being, there are ten dolphins, some of them were brought from the Caspian Sea in Russia, and some of them were born in Eilat, and are Israeli citizens….
The uniqueness of the place is the fact that there was not and there isn’t an attempt to domesticate the dolphins. That defined area in which they are living is not closed, and allows the dolphins free entrance and exit. As a matter of fact, the dolphins are staying there out of their own free will.
The dolphins frequently swim to the open sea, for the simple fact that they have to supply themselves with food. The “Dolphin-reef “ crew does not supply them with food, and does not interfere with their private life. Aside from that, those dolphin has a good taste of their own…they too – same as we – loves the Red Sea, with all of its beautiful coral reefs and spectacular undersea creatures.
Preparing to swim
After struggling with myself, I chose to swim with the dolphins, rather than diving with them.
Sarit, the instructor, gave me a short brief, focusing on the interaction between those diverse mammals and us.
There are some rules such as not chasing the dolphins, not touching sensitive areas like the eyes, the blowhole on their head and their genitalia (as if we wanted to do that…).
We also got an explanation regarding the personal equipment, which includes snorkel, diving-mask, flippers and diving suit.
If you are anxious to commemorate the occasion, you can rent an under-water camera, or pay to professional photographer to come along with you, for video shooting or stills.
No one promised us that we could get real close. After all, that depends on the dolphins themselves. We were a little disappointed, but our hopes increased while remembering that half an hour of swimming is a lot of time.
After a short demo practice, outside the defined area, we moved into it (“we” means me, five other visitors and, of course, Sarit).
In the water with the dolphins
What can I tell you…from the first moment you can sense the presence of that amazing creature, by hearing the unique sounds that it can produce. It is unbelievable! You can Swimming and Diving with dolphins in Eilatnot see them yet, but you sure can hear them. We all tried to make the first eye contact, but came out with nothing. I raised my head out of the water, and caught a glimpse of back-flippers about 50 meters from me. After a few minutes I nearly had a cocktail of salty sea water, when my mouth almost opened wide because of a huge dolphin, swimming in superb, passing along my swimming buddy, a tourist from the Netherlands, who actually was able to touch it.
I saw the dolphin moving on into the deep water, and I was so envious of my friend at that time, because I was afraid that this time I wouldn’t share his experience.
The first encounter
But, after a few minutes of swimming here and forth, came, just out of the blue, an amazing dolphin, named Bunchy, according to Sarit. Bunchy was a young dolphin, which explains the fact that he still doesn’t get bored of meeting groups of enthusiastic people such as we were. The wild dive
Bunchy stayed with us for about 15 seconds more, and during this time he surely felt like the most beloved dolphin in the world.
We touched him, caressed him and played with him. It took us a while to realize that we are swimming with a dolphin (!), but soon it seemed like the most natural thing to do. Bunchy surrounded us and examined us above and under the water… it was really hard to say who enjoyed this meeting more…Bunchy or us…
I can hardly explain the feeling touching his smooth skin, and the feeling I got out of a 10cm distance between my head and Bunchy’s. You just have to be there in order to understand.
Swimming with dolphins was something I dreamt about since I was a little boy. I guess it was under the influence and impression of books that had been read to me, or because the mythological and unforgettable TV show – “Flipper”.
Out of that short experience I’ve had in the Dolphin Reef, I can say that dolphins are the most amazing mammals. You can sense, in every moment, their high intelligence (no doubt, much more then a few people I happened to have met in my life).
All farewells are sad, especially if that farewell is from the first dolphin you have ever met, but you can find some comfort knowing you can always do that again, if you are in Eilat, and have about two hours and some bucks (about 200NIS) to spend.