amazing day with dusky dolphins
The ancient Greeks believed that dolphins were closely related to Gods and Goddesses, Australian Aborigines consider the dolphin a spiritual guide and protector and dolphins hold special significance for Maori people of New Zealand. So it’s no wonder Zoe Rees felt it was a real privilege to swim with these captivating creatures…
“As I floated in the deep blue water, I looked up, admiring the piercing sapphire sky and back drop of the dramatic mountains surrounding the harbour. It was spring, but still some snow remained on the highest peaks. I glanced down, trying without luck to see the ocean floor, shivering with a mixture of cold water chills and anticipation. Suddenly someone on the boat moored nearby let out an excited “behind you! behind you!”
Flashes of grey seemed to dance around me, to the left, to the right, between my legs… and then as quick as they appeared, they were gone – but not for long. Within a few minutes I could see small rounded two-tone dorsal fins poking above the water only metres away, headed in my direction – and so the games began again.
No, I wasn’t on the set of the next Jaws movie, I was in a beautiful Kaikoura, New Zealand. On the shores of the Pacific, this unique area is where sub-ocean currents collide, which means it’s a virtual all-you-can-eat buffet for a mass of marine animals and seabirds. So it’s no surprise that the region is famous for seeing the resident Sperm whales as well as other migratory species depending on the season, and it’s also home to the remarkable dusky dolphins.
The highlight for me was meeting these social and high-spirited dolphins, known for their crazy acrobatics and aerial play. It was amazing to watch these cheeky creatures in their natural habitat. Although the dusky dolphins may swim close to you in the water, they are completely wild and the experience is totally on the their terms. And I can’t help but feel that this is what makes the encounter all the more fantastic!”
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* photo by Thomas Jones – Intrepid Photography Competition