Going swimming with dolphins is one of those things which you commonly find on people’s bucket list which is why I felt so privileged to have the opportunity to swim with a pod of wild ones! This was one of the activities which was offered to us whilst on our Flying Kiwi tour of New Zealand and it was one of the options that we were strongly advised to have a go at. It was one of the more expensive activities on our tour but with hindsight it was definitely worth every penny. We were stopping and camping at a town called Kaikoura which is on a stunning part of the East Coast of the South Island. Only the day before, we were driving along the coastal road and we came to a point where a seal colony is often based; sure enough there were loads of Fur Seals and their pups lounging on the rocks. I hadn’t seen any wild seals before, so it was really cool to be able to watch them for a bit, especially the little seal pups!
That night we decided to upgrade from our tent to a little shack so that we could get ready quicker in the morning and make it to the meet point at 5am with relative ease. Well, that was the plan anyway.. As it turned out our alarm didn’t go off (or more likely just failed to wake us), so you can imagine we were quite shocked when we heard a knock at the door. We had overslept and we had 5 minutes until we were supposed to be leaving. With a lot of rushing and a bit of luck, the driver turned up late and we made it in time to get picked up, even if we didn’t look or smell that great! Once we had got suited and booted, we got onto the boats and headed out in search for the mystical dusky dolphins. We found one pod, jumped in and tried interacting with them but they weren’t that interested and were moving too fast for us to swim with them so we got back onto the boat and went looking for another pod. Eventually we found some more, and this time they wanted to play.
We slipped off of the back of the boat and started snorkeling around the area trying to attract the dolphins. Earlier on in the day we had been told that to help us draw the attention of the dolphins it would be a good idea to sing, hum or make noises through our snorkels. With that in mind I let loose and broke into a full rendition of the A Team theme tune. Although this may seem odd to many of you, it actually seemed to work and I had the privilege of watching as these amazing creatures swim all around us. The experience is not one which is easy to describe and you can’t truly know what it feels like until you witness it for yourself. Just watching them glide through the water so gracefully brought a feeling of contentedness and serenity. A feeling that you don’t feel very often, and it became apparent to me that this was something that would never be forgotten.
Once we were back on the boat we were told by some of the spectators how surreal it was to see all of us swimming around singing and making totally mental noises.. I am glad I wasn’t in their shoes! Before we left we had an excellent opportunity to watch over the several hundred strong pod of dolphins as they swam alongside us and performed somersaults which was mesmerising. Basically, it was an amazing day!