Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - dolphins

OMG! I've just been to Kangaroo Island and I'm going to bombard you with all the critters I saw while there. My favourite encounter first - swimming with dolphins. When I got home, I couldn't sleep, and I wrote this (below) so I'm pasting it here and only the names have been edited. I hope it captures my emotion.

Feb 25th, 2019

Today was incredible. The water was crystal clear, green, gorgeous. Not cold, perfect. The day was sunny, a bit of a breeze, hot. The Dolphins came to check us out, a mother and calf first, then a single. Then we met the pods as they came up beside us...or did we go to them? They're interested in the boat, coming to see, to ride the waves, to look at us.

After some time of watching them come, we're at the back, ready to slide in with them, mask and snorkel on, my camera in hand.

I should have looked after Mr E and Dad but I didn't. I lost myself in dolphins. They swam by, clicks and squeals and squeaks. Huge and small. The largest ones nearest to me, watching, ready to protect their pod.

And me, not even thinking of my pod, just off on my own, revelling in the experience. Then our time is up. Back to the boat. Dad and Mr E don't look good, both pale, breathing hard, looking unwell. Fuck. I should have cared, stayed with them. I help Dad up, get his gear, ply him with water. Watch him cough and hack. More fresh water. Mr E looks on, stoic, not wanting water, not all that happy.

The next group are in and I take some shots, I try my best to care but I've already shown my true colours.

An opportunity to go in again. I'm there. I'm in again. Before I do, on the back, I see the couple with the small boy. The boy has not swum but his parents have. And I understand them. I feel some camaraderie.
Then I notice the lady, standing with a beautific smile, hands cradling her stomach, a small bulge that the sun-smart shirt sticks to. I wonder if she's pregnant but it's not something I can ask a stranger. I ask if she's okay, if she enjoyed it. She beams. Beautific becomes luminous. "My baby became active when the dolphins swam past." Oh, my heart almost melted. We spoke of it, of them, of the experience, the joy.

I mention the baby movement to the photographer on board. She's more excited than either of us. Now all three of us are buzzing. We allow the pregnant lady to get in alone. We watch the dolphins came around her, circle her. She's ecstatic, grinning, thumbs up. Her baby responds again, rolls and is active. The dolphins click and chatter as they pass her.

We go in again, and again. Again and again. Maybe 6 times. Each time is different, exciting, incredible. I talk, I roll, I swim, I follow, I twist and turn, kick and crawl, but there is no way to keep up with them. I watch them glide past, tails pulsing, as I lumber almost unmoving compared with them.

In an interlude I spot fish, inquisitive fellows who came swimming right up to me, posing for my shot. I snap weed and jellyfish, patterns in the sand, the boat and the boat's movement.

The captain, picks us up, drops us off. Easily. Flawlessly. We slip into the water as the pod arrives. They circle, sweep around us, check us all out.

They're huge. Solid, big, grey, some stick to shadows, lurking at the edges of the pod. Once I looked closely, a shark or a dolphin? But I felt no fear, just a burning curiosity and a feeling of belonging...and not belonging at all.

When it was time to go, we took off with some speed and the dolphins were there, they knew, it was playtime. They rode the waves, leaping from the water, joyous, exuberant, showing off their skills. It was the most incredible way to end the trip. A buoyant, exuberance for all.

A deeply moving day, because of the incredible experience the lady with her baby shared with us. The joy of seeing her face, her hands cradling the new life inside, the care of her little boy.

I don't think Dad and Mr E enjoyed it anywhere close to how I did, but I think they enjoyed the day. The view from the boat was quite amazing. If I manage to have energy tomorrow, then I think Mr E may be a lot happier. I don't think he can comprehend the impact the ocean has on me.

I don't think I'll ever forget this experience.


If you want to do this, here are the details. Enjoy!!

No comments:

Post a Comment