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In the creation of a co-existance from the land to the sea...

"To make a true friend - One needs to first extend the hand of friendship".

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Alan and Patricia Payne run this family owned business which operates from Baird Bay, a small and remote coastal village situated on the West Coast of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

"Our amazing adventures with the marine mammals of Baird Bay started in 1992.

On a day that was warm and calm while fishing in Baird Bay, a young sea lion approached our boat full of curiosity as to what we were and with a "fear" of just what were we up to. We were both just as curious as this young lion, so pulled in our fishing lines and sat watching him. This action consequently bought the timid young lion even closer to our boat and with Alan’s curiosity matching that of the lion he could not resist the temptation to slip into the sea and meet this young fellow in his own element, on his terms.

An incredible friendship has formed between "us" and "them" since this humble beginning which seems so long ago now.

We have learnt so much, with most of it coming from the sea lions, they are great teachers, their communication skills are excellent. Listen and you learn, no need for speech, action says it all. There was no-one to teach us as no-one knew how.

We don’t know it all, but we do know a little bit with still so much to learn. There are no experts, only pretend ones, as no-one will ever know it all".

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"The Dolphins are so different from the Sea Lions, they are so close but at the same time keep themselves slightly aloof, with what seems to be, a magical element. As with the Sea Lions, our friendship with the Dolphins began humbly, simply and with no knowledge.

Our first encounter with the Dolphins was a couple of years on from that of the sea lions as we rarely saw a Dolphin in the bay while we were fishing. As this interaction began so naturally, we cannot remember exactly when, how or even why it happened. It just did.

Their teachings are so much easier to learn, as not only do they teach by action, but they also have sound to communicate with. Over the years we have learnt sounds and some meanings to these sounds. Takes awhile though. By repetitively putting sound to action, which can take years to learn one sound, it can be achieved and it is just that.... an amazing achievement.

Anyone can learn, just need to spend the time is all and if you want to learn, don’t read it from a book as every book is different - it is only someone else’s thoughts".

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The Facts of Baird Bay’s Marine Mammals.

In 1992, Jones Island Sea Lion population was thought to be around 25 to 35 Adult Sea Lions with around 6 pups thought to have been born. 2015/16 the Sea Lion population has grown to have approximately 120 Adult Sea Lions with the minimum pup birth number being 25 for this particular season.

There has never been official counts of the Dolphins in Baird Bay, so numbers are only official to Alan and Trish by their observation. First sightings put the numbers to around 4 maximum with sightings only occasional, with no calves being seen at all in the Bay until 1998. 2016 maintains around 25 in the resident pod of dolphins with at least 4 calves being born each year in Baird Bay.

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"To gain trust - One needs to earn trust"


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