Diving with Dolphins

Well OK, this is really more of a dive experience than a dive site. But it is a pretty good one! And dolphins are reasonably easy to see in the in the wild.

In almost every new place that I have been diving I have seen dolphins inside a week of being there. Want to see dolphins? Go down to your nearest ocean and spend a week or two looking at the sea and chances are that you will see dolphins. Or if you are pressed for time you can go on a commercial tour. Most parts of the world's oceans have dolphins swimming around in them. Seeing them may not be as easy as getting a burger with fries, but the experience is a lot more rewarding.

Once you do see some dolphins, leave it up to them to decide how close they want to get. Don't chase them. If they are interested they will approach you. Apart from being illegal in many places, I think that chasing after dolphins to force some kind of encounter really undermines the whole experience.

Dolphins are wonderful to encounter in their natural environment. Think of adjectives like fast, powerful, graceful, beautiful, agile and every other good thing that you have heard about these creatures and you start to get the idea. But words don't really do these animals justice, and although I try, photos don't either because the most absorbing thing about dolphins is that when you look at them, they look back.

There is definitely an intelligence behind the steady gaze of a dolphin. I like to think that the mind of a dolphin is gently curious, but often a little reserved where humans are concerned. This reserve can quickly change to wild play, with spectacular leaps out of the water or flamboyant underwater loops and rolls, but while it lasts you get the impression that the dolphin is as interested in the encounter a you are.

Of course the mind of a dolphin has to cope with a completely different environment. A world of sound and constant movement in three dimensions. For those species that live in the ocean, theirs is an environment where there is no certain shelter from predators or storms. It is impossible to be sure what is going on in the mind behind the enigmatic gaze of a dolphin.This mystery just adds to the experience.

As for dolphins in aquariums: well would you keep a dog in a box for the rest of its life? Most species of dolphins spend each day ranging over a large area as they hunt for food and interact with each other. They live in a varied and stimulating environment, full of different things to see and hear (remember that sound is probably as important to dolphins as sight is to humans). It is not unusual for wild bottlenose dolphins to swim 20 to 40 kilometres each day. In my opinion this sort of life can not be duplicated in a sterile aquarium.

Anyway, here are some photos of bottlenose dolphins.

| TOP |