Who isn’t crazy about dolphins? Err shameful confession time… me! I do love all living creatures but have never quite got the whole ‘dolphins are my spiritual soulmate’ thing.
I’ve had some experience working with dolphins, and sure they look friendly enough and have some funky moves, but behind that cheeky smile I could always see an evil glint in their eye that said ‘I will bite you if I get a chance’.
So it was with some trepidation that I volunteered to work on a dolphin research project in the Red Sea – namely to survey and count the species present and to identify as many individuals as possible. This required photographing the dolphin’s dorsal fin either from a boat, or when conditions allowed, from in the water.
Never having swum with wild dolphins before, I was unsure of how they’d react to some two-legged heavy-breather trying in vain to keep up. Basically the dolphins swam just fast enough to be out of reach, so were either ignoring me or tormenting me with their superior swimming ability.
One young dolphin chap however apparently decided to ‘play’, by baring his teeth and swimming extremely tight circles around me. Rather than enjoy the experience I was trying to keep all fingers and toes as close to me as possible while visualising news headlines of ‘Australian girl mauled by dolphins’!
The dolphins we spent most time in the water with were spinner dolphins, small and a bit manic. One day though a calm vibe descended on the group as three bottlenose appeared. It was like seeing a double decker bus next to a mini – they were BIG! And surprisingly cool creatures. I swam around with them for quite awhile and I have to say I did fall in love a little. I swear every time they looked at me they were saying ‘yo dude, hows it going?’. Like I said, super cool.
One of the cruisy bottlenose: