Terry Howson grew up surfing, sailing and swimming on the waters and beaches of Rockingham. In 1989, at the age of 23, he set out to pursue his dream of swimming with the local wild dolphins. Terry dedicated 12 months to learn as much about the dolphins as he could. Seven days a week, 10 hours a day he followed them on a small boat, observing their habits and behaviours. Many months later his determination finally paid off with his first in water encounter with a curious young female dolphin, who he now knows as Logo. As time went on Terry’s underwater interactions with Logo became more frequent as her trust in his friendship strengthened. Gradually, other dolphins became curious of the new visitor in their world and started to interact on a regular basis.
Terry set out to establish a dolphin swim project, unlike any other in the world. The idea was to offer a truly wild dolphin encounter. To do this he believed the dolphins should never be fed by humans and never taken out of their natural environment to ensure natural behaviours and independence was conserved. He believed learning how to fit into the dolphin’s way of life rather than trying to make them conform to ours was the only way to truly present a wild dolphin experience.
His efforts have been recognized with a series of awards including the 2001, 2002 and 2003 West Australian Ecotourism Awards. In 2004 Rockingham Dolphins was inducted into the West Australian Tourism Hall of Fame and achieved their ultimate goal of winning the Australian Tourism Award for Ecotourism.
In 2005 the Rockingham Wild Encounters Ecotourism Group was formed by Terry Howson and Aaron Heath to include their new Penguin and Seal Island ecotours that operate under the same spirit and philosophies as those originally set out by Terry.