Well, I said that my next blog would be an upbeat blog that would make you smile and laugh and nothing makes that happen more easily than dolphins.
Yesterday I went for a dive with Greg and Eden from Phoenix, Arizona. Greg hadn’t dived in about 5 years so he was with me for the afternoon doing a refresher dive. The wind was up, and the water was a little choppy so I was a bit worried about the clarity of the water. We went out on the boat to Creole Rock and I gave a thorough briefing on the basics of diving so that Greg was feeling comfortable on his dive.
(Are you bored yet? I know you just want to hear about the dolphins, but the anticipation of the event makes it more exciting, right?)
We got into the water and then dropped down the line for some exercises in shallow water. First with the regulator, then with the mask and then some out of air scenarios. Greg did a great job and I was thinking “has it really been 5 years for Greg?” I would like to say at this point that it is really important to do a refresher dive if you haven’t been diving in a long time.
(OK, OK, I’ll get to the dolphins soon).
We finished the exercises and then started off around Creole Rock. I showed them a little Christmas Tree worm (I love those) there were the remains of an Octopus’ dinner (but no octopus), a couple of banded cleaner shrimp and also some nice snapper fish. We were just making our way slowly around. The visibility wasn’t that great, so we could only see about 20 – 25 feet around us.
I just finished looking at a small insignificant shell that I thought might have a little hermit crab inside when I felt the need to look up. Out of the haziness in the distance these large dark shapes appeared. They were moving fast, and directly towards us. The shapes were quickly getting larger and larger and seemed to be multiplying. Then, just a millisecond later I could see five massive dolphins and one small baby surrounding us.
My first instinct was fright. I was scared. Did you know that everything looks 25% bigger underwater? These animals are HUGE! Not only are they huge but they made me feel like a clumsy toddler watching the ballerinas in Swan Lake – each graceful movement affirming the inadequacy of my equipment. I looked at Greg and Eden to make sure that they were okay and we all sort of floated there, wide eyed, in astonishment.
There was one dolphin that just kept circling us, over and over. He had quite a few scars on his dorsal fin and back where he probably got a bit too curious with a boat. But as he circled us he would follow you with his eye, and it really felt like he was trying to tell us something. Around and around and around he swam. Then he made this movement with his head, like “follow me.” And it was tempting, just to swim after them, grab hold and see what happened.
They stayed with us for about 5 minutes and then we carried on with the dive, everything paling in comparison. They joined us again about 15 minutes later further around the rock. It was a magical experience.
I couldn’t wait to get back to the boat and talk with the others about the experience. I was hoping the whole time that Stuart had seen them as well. He was on a dive with another student and left about 10 minutes before me on his dive.
I surfaced, got my reg out of my mouth and I said to Stuart “How was your dive?” I guess it was the way that I said it, or the look on my face, or perhaps because Stuart and I spend way too much time together on the boat, but he replied “You saw dolphins, didn’t you?”
I then proceeded to tell him about the whole experience. He asked me where I saw them and I said “Well, about halfway around right where those banded coral shrimp are the dolphins came over. They stayed with us for about 10 minutes and then swam away and then came back again for another 5 minutes. They were so close you could’ve touched them.” To which Stu came back with “I didn’t ask you how close they were or how long they stayed with you, just where!” He was getting a little short tempered with jealousy I think.
At any rate, it was something that I really needed. An experience that confirmed for me why I do what I do everyday. It makes all the marketing, the accounting, the bookwork, the emails, the website development, the stress, the energy, it makes it all worth it!
So… Thank you, Dolphins, I really needed that!
(Sally wrote this blog 🙂 )