What sea creatures can you swim with?

Swimming with Sea Lions, Stingrays and Sharks

Animal caretaker Shannon Huyser pours water over Freebie the sea lion in Gulfport, Miss., on Sept. 1, 2005.
Animal caretaker Shannon Huyser pours water over Freebie the sea lion in Gulfport, Miss., on Sept. 1, 2005.
Amy Toensing/Getty Images

Sea lions are another fun sea creature you can frolic with. At Norris Rock, British Columbia, thousands of sea lions make the trek from Alaska and California each year to feed on herring. Adventurous types jump in and swim along with these mammals, known for being extremely playful with humans. One thing the United Kingdom has a lot of is grey seals. Colonies all over the islands of England and Scotland are full of seals and tourists ready to swim. An ecotourism company in Baird Bay, Australia, offers half-day sea lion swimming tours. If you can't make it to Australia, venture to Canada where you can swim with sea lions for $150 inside the West Edmonton Mall.

Stingrays and sharks are two of the more feared sea creatures you can actually swim with, provided you're with someone who knows what they're doing. You don't want to swim unprotected with a great white, but you can get close to lemons, grays, white-tip and black-tip reef sharks without the need for a shark cage. Bora Bora has plenty of boats that offer shark dives. They chum the water in order to get shark activity, but feeding sharks is a controversial issue because it stalls their normal feeding habits. The giant whale shark is a trendy swim these days too, mainly because of their predictable migration pattern, which makes them easy to spot. These gentle giants can grow as long as 50 feet (15.24 meters) but only feed on tiny plankton and krill and aren't a threat to humans. The only place in the Western Hemisphere you can find a whale shark is at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Ga. And you guessed it -- you can swim with them for a mere $225.

If you go to the Cayman Islands, you can swim with wild stingrays. These rays are pretty docile and used to people because of all the activity and the fact that humans can buy buckets of squid to feed them. Associating people with food is dangerous business if you ask wildlife experts, who oppose this brand of ecotourism. But once these tours become popular, it's difficult to stop locals from making money off a willing tourist.