Brigid Travels

Updates from The Road

Dolphin swim [2000]


I really need to get a thesaurus. Everything has been amazing, incredible, intense, stunning or wonderful. Swimming with the dolphins was all that. We had a quick briefing where they told us not to touch the dolphins (they run away), don't flail your arms, but do make squeaking noises, do move rhythmically, do dive down under the water with the snorkel on if you can. They like those things, and will play with you. We drove out into the ocean about a half hour, and then found a suitable pod, without any babies. Moms (and nursemaids) were too protective so we couldn't be near them. On the way, the boat crew gave us 2 rounds of antacids (I think) which were supposed to function against sea sickness. I was the first one in the water and the last one out. We had full wetsuit gear on (including hoods, gloves, booties) and snorkel gear (mask, blowpipe thing, fins). Once in the water I started my rhythmic movement - I put my flippers together as if they were one and moved like a dolphin does. Very soon they came to see what was up. I was careful not to touch them, to keep my hands to my body, but they were so close it took effort. Initially there were 3 of them checking me out. Eventually I got into talking to them through my snorkel gear in alternatingly squeeky and soothing tones. And I dove down (as much as I could with such a bouyant wetsuit). Every time I dove down, a couple of dolphins came swimming by very close to compliment my effort. They were all over everyone - our boat had a dozen swimmers. They popped up and sometimes jumped around us. Every once in a while they would disappear, but always reappear when I tried to do my diving :) After a little over an hour, the boat sounded its horn and the last of us still in the water got on the boat. The dolphins seemed to know what was up, and crossed in front of me as I was trying to maneuver to the boat. To use an oveused word, it was amazing. One time, a dolphin crossed in front of me, then swung on hist back and sailed under me, looking at me over his white belly :) The water was so bright blue-green... the dolphins were black and white, just stunning. And when I looked out of the water, there were snowcapped peaks beyond the dark beaches. I loved it!

The only problem is that I missed the 4:08 train and the 5:45 bus was full, so I got the last seat on the 8:10 bus. I didn't realize it's a holiday here today, so everything is booked up. But I have to get back to Christchurch so I can (hopefully) catch a 7am shuttle up to go snowboarding :) Yes, I'll be careful - no broken ribs or back injury that lays me out on the floor for a week.

This web shop is closing - I guess I'll get something to eat while I wait for the 3 hour bus ride.

:) good day, despite the lack of sleep (I'll catch up in Tonga) Brigid