25 AUG 2012

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Jet Ski dolphin tour at Myrtle Beach Watersports in Little River, SC. It was a great experience, and I would recommend it to anyone vacationing in the Myrtle Beach area.

The tour leaves from Little River, just north of North Myrtle Beach. If you are staying in an Ocean Drive Beach Rentals condo, it would take you no longer than 15 minutes to drive to Myrtle Beach Watersports’ Little River location. My wife and I were greeted by friendly staff right away, who made us feel at ease in the midst of a new experience. After waiting for the other members of the tour to arrive, we made our way to a small dock and were fitted for life jackets. Our tour guide then introduced himself and briefed the group on safety procedures, and we were on the water in no time. Following the guide, we started out on the Intracoastal Waterway, getting familiar with the jet skis as we wound our way through the curves and out to the ocean.

The Little River Inlet is a busy traffic area for tour boats and fishing vessels, so we took it slow through the no-wake zone where the sea comes inland. After we cleared the barrier islands on the inlet, the open ocean greeted the group as we headed single-file to the dolphin viewing area. The ocean water is much rougher than the surface of the waterway, so it took a lot of care and finesse to keep the Jet Ski upright and moving briskly along. Five minutes later, we slowed to a stop about a mile offshore and waited.

Soon, dolphins appeared all around us. Their heads emerged from the water just long enough to take a breath, so I had to be especially attentive to catch a glimpse of them. They would come up for air in groups of about ten, and go under again. Every few minutes they would pop up here and there, and sometimes would come so close I felt I could reach out and touch them! The dolphins were obviously comfortable with our presence, even as we all tapped our throttles to try to keep up with them. It was a great feeling to be so close to animals you rarely see, especially in their natural environment. The dolphin-spotting game went on for 45 minutes or so until they had moved on.

On the way back to the dock, our guide gave us the opportunity to explore the inlet area on the Jet Skis, and there we were able to zip around as fast as we pleased. The group was more comfortable with the equipment at this point, so we headed back into the waterway at a much quicker pace. We were treated to amazing views of the waterway and salt marshes as we made the trip back to the dock. Before leaving, the staff offered us a professionally framed photo and the DVD of the video footage our guide had taken on the trip. The whole trip lasted about 3 hours, and we paid $65 per person, plus a tip for the guide. The money was well worth the memorable experience. The Jet Skis alone are a blast to use, and the dolphin sightings made the trip even better.

Make plans to take the Jet Ski Dolphin Tour on your next vacation, and your family will be talking about it for months afterwards!