Saturday, December 10, 2005

10 Dec - As good as it gets

I approached Bay2 this morning unsure of what I would see after last Wednesday's dolphin free day. There was a very light breeze so the surface was almost glassy and the light cloud cover was keeping the glare off the water. As soon as I could see the bay I noticed a disturbed patch of water and 2 fins appeared almost immediately. Even from the shore I could see that the visibility was perfect. I changed and "hit" the water. By this time there were 6-8 fins in the bay only about 70 metres from shore. I had a brief visit from them and, almost immediately, 6 of them left thru the gap in the reef.

The two who stayed were juveniles and looking for some fun. They were really relaxed and either approached me on the surface so that we could dive together or simply swam about directly under me about 2 metres down. Occasionally, I would think that they'd gone and then notice a grey shape below me. We spent about 30 minutes together and then Chunkie appeared nearby and called them to her. I assume that one of them was her calf. She had been in the original 6 that left earlier so obviously it had been ok for the calves to stay and keep me occupied. I left the water feeling quite content but did not realise what was in store for me about 30 minutes later.

Twice during the 30 minutes I decided to leave and check out the other bays but each time I caught a glimpse of fins outside the reef. Finally, I spotted a large group swimming along the reef about 100 metres out. I decided to get into the water, hoping that they would turn into the bay. I glanced up when I was halfway out and saw that they had decided to come in. There were at least 15 fins and they were so relaxed that some of them were cruising along the surface. I angled around behind the inner group and inside the others. Then they really made my day by converging on me. I was being buzzed by sonar and listening to a cacophony of squeals and whistles as they surged all around. If I dived to the bottom and rolled over so that I was looking skywards I could see dolphins at my level and at various levels above me. It is vary rare for them to ever let me get below them. Some were doing slow "torpedo runs" towards me on the surface and then diving when they were about 2 metres away. I'd dive and lose sight of them as I went straight down. As I approached the sandy bottom I would have a pectoral fin of a dolphin about 20 cms from my nose. Sometimes they would surface as I did and do another dive. I mimicked them. Occasionally, when I was concentrating on one dolphin two more would swim under my belly and start to surface in front of me. Everybody, was joining in. They started drifting out to sea over the reef so I followed. They were moving so slowly that I could keep up without effort. Some decided to play hide and seek with me by diving behind an outcrop and waiting for me to dive and move around to their side. Sometimes I would be facing them and at other times, behind them. When I appeared behind them they would take off in mock fright,only to appear seconds later from behind me. At one stage I counted 9 young dolphins below me packed as tight as sardines as they swam between two rocky outcrops. Their pectoral fins were touching and they looked blissfully happy. They were squealing and whistling so I dived to about 50 cms above them and went thru the gap with them. At some stages an adult would swim to one of the juveniles and lift it out of the water so that it would land on its back with quite a splash. It was as though I wasn't there. It's terrific to have their trust to this extent. When they finally moved off I looked at my watch and was surprised to see that 30 minutes had elapsed since I started my swim.


Blogger 'Thought & Humor' said...

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.

*Boas Festas e um feliz Ano Novo,
*Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo,
*Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!
*Mo'adim Lesimkha. Shanah Tova,
*Fröhliche Weihnachten und ein glückliches -
Neues Jahr!
*Merry Christmas,
Dr. Howdy

'Thought & Humor'

8:16 PM  
Blogger jacfin said...

I'm pleased that someone has actually found it!

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Really wonderful story. The dolphins are definitely very smart being able to adapt their play to someone so much slower and less agile than themselves.
I wonder what they say about you in their blog.

6:02 AM  

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