Insider guide: Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary

Insider guide: Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary

Go behind the scenes to dis­cov­er the unique jobs and pas­sion­ate peo­ple that care for South Australia’s environment.

Cristi­na Vicente – Ade­laide Dol­phin Sanc­tu­ary Act­ing Manager

How would you describe your job to some­one at a BBQ?

I’m cur­rent­ly man­ag­ing the Ade­laide Dol­phin Sanc­tu­ary (ADS). The ADS is an amaz­ing, beau­ti­ful and rel­a­tive­ly unknown marine sanc­tu­ary in the north of Ade­laide that’s home to a wild pop­u­la­tion of dol­phins.

I work in a small team pro­tect­ing the dol­phins and their habi­tat. Our work is real­ly vari­able, no two days are ever the same, rang­ing from impor­tant office duties to man­ag­ing wildlife emer­gen­cies. Com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment and edu­ca­tion are also a big part of what we do.

How did you get into this line of work?

Since I was a kid I knew I want­ed to work in conservation.

After fin­ish­ing a Master’s degree in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence I trav­elled through Mex­i­co and Aus­tralia work­ing with Marine Tur­tles – they are my ulti­mate favourite!

I worked in the non-gov­ern­men­tal organ­i­sa­tion sec­tor for sev­er­al years before join­ing the Depart­ment for Envi­ron­ment and Water (DEW) six years ago. I quick­ly fell in love with the ADS and when a posi­tion came up, I took my chance.

What do you encounter in a nor­mal’ day on the job?

There is no nor­mal day at the ADS.

For exam­ple, one Mon­day I went to the office to check my emails and end­ed up cross­ing Gulf St Vin­cent with safe­ty offi­cers to res­cue a strand­ed sperm whale!

Dur­ing the four years I’ve spent at the ADS I’ve done every­thing from writ­ing doc­u­ments and reports to being a part of TV shows. I do com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment and out­reach work, field work and have been involved in all sorts of marine wildlife emergencies.

What’s the most amaz­ing thing you’ve seen at the Ade­laide Dol­phin Sanctuary?

Well, I don’t want to be too pre­dictable here, but see­ing dol­phin calves when they’re brand new (days old) is just amaz­ing. If you spend time at the ADS you get to see some incred­i­ble ani­mal behav­iours. It’s one of the best wildlife expe­ri­ences you can have any­where in the world.

What are your insid­er tips for vis­it­ing the Ade­laide Dol­phin Sanctuary?

For­get every­thing you think you know about the ADS. The Port Riv­er and its indus­tri­alised envi­ron­ment are just the tip of the ice­berg. Jump in a kayak around Gar­den Island, Bark­er inlet, Tor­rens Island or Sec­tion Bank on a calm sun­ny day and dis­cov­er port paradise’.

Glassy days with no wind are the best for dol­phin spot­ting. Sight­ings are almost guar­an­teed year-round at Gar­den Island and around the inner Port dur­ing the win­ter months. Just bring your camera.

You’re sure to come back!

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living