Friday, 22 January 2010

Diving with Common Dolphins

After swimming with Moko at Otarawairere Bay the Whale & Dolphin Watch boat Blue Sky turned towards White Island and headed out to blue water. We were off to locate a school of Common Dolphin to swim with. Before long we spotted the pod and then they were jumping at the Blue Skys' bow causing squeals and cheers from the excited passengers.

We cruised along for a while, sitting on the bow, our legs dangling in the spray watching the dolphins leaping beneath our feet. They were so much smaller than Moko and beautifully marked with soft smudgy grey against warm caramel colour.
Before long the dolphins veered off so Gregg the skipper accelerated the boat and skilfully positioned Blue Sky front of the pod. A group of us lined up along the duckboard at the rear of the boat, the white water of the wake beneath our flippers, masks and snorkels in place. Then we got the signal "go go go!" as the boat stopped. We slipped into the water to mix with the dolphin in their own environment.
For an instant all I could see was a myriad of white bubbles from the wash of the propellers then the first thing that struck me was the incredible blue colour of the water. It was an indescribably intense vibrant blue shot with dancing rays of light. Then suddenly a dolphin zooming effortlessly below me then another two dolphin deep down below the first gave me a real sense of space. The visibility was astounding, I could see forever! One of the dolphins turned on its side to watch me as it swam.
If only I had an underwater camera... or better, an underwater video camera! Its such an amazing experience and difficult to describe accurately. Its a true adrenalin rush. You are miles out from land and in an environment that is so totally NOT our own. But it is incredibly beautiful and the best thing about it is that you are in the dolphins world. Swimming with Moko was a buzz but at the beach he is visiting us in an environment we are comfortable in. Its a whole different experience to put yourself in the world of the dolphin. We were fortunate to strike a day with exceptionally clear water apparently so enjoyed another couple of "drops" into the ocean before it was time to go. Back at Moutohora Island we all enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate. I don't know who made the initial discovery but it appears there is a scientific formula supporting the fact that hot chocolate is THE perfect compliment to a days diving with dolphins! Certainly everyone on board was appreciative of its restorative qualities. I downed mine rather smartly however as I was determined to make the most of the last twenty minutes to check out the rocky coastline in front of the seal colony. Back in the water I scooted towards the shoreline and was captivated by a large school of silver mullet that wound its way beneath me. Golden forests of kelp swayed with the waves, rocks poking through with groups of fat kina atop them. Large purple striped fish hung out near the bottom in clearings between the seaweed. Troy joined me and I pointed out a large warty seaslug I spied below us. (Maybe next time I'll buy a disposable underwater camera.) It was the perfect end to a perfect day!


Unknown said...

Wow! That head on shot is one in a million Mandy!! Well done!! :-)

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

Amazing photos, just to see a dolphin would be a real treat but to come home with great photos!

We've been away, picked up heaps of hints and tips for my camera and got a couple of new filter I just hope I can remember it all:)

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

opps, the words 'and I ..picked up' were missing from that sentence! lol