Weather Helmed

an adventure in renewing the spirit and living the dream…on a sailboat

Weather Helmed

Fiji Highlight – DOLPHINS!!

October 21st, 2010 · 1 Comment · Famous Firsts, Fiji

After we picked up Allison in Nadi, we spent one night anchored off Beachcomber Island (NOT recommended) and then left early the next morning to go to Waya Island.  There was no wind and the water was almost perfectly still.  We were motoring along at 4.5 knots when we saw the joyful splashes and heard the poofs of air that we now know means dolphins are close.  Two large bottlenose dolphins met us at the bow and kept up with us with laughably little effort.  Almost immediately, I noticed that they were acting different than all the other dolphins we had encountered.  These guys were lazily turning on their sides and looking up at us, or even turning completely upside down and showing us their bellies.  Because we were going so slow and the water was so clear, we could see every nick in their skin, the glint in their eyes, and when they breathed, we felt the puff of air and water right in our face (blech! dolphin breath! :)) Just watching them swim along with such ease and grace was awesome enough, but THEN – THEN – they did something we had never seen before or even heard about:

I looked down (hanging my head over the side of the bow), and could clearly se we that one of the dolphins had pressed himself against the hull of the boat and was using the force of the flowing water to hold him there so he could literally “ride” the boat.  When he slowly slipped away, it took only seconds before I heard a “thump” against the hull and could see how he pressed his tail against the boat this time to help keep him there for the ride.  He did this, coming back time after time, for at least ten minutes, even pushing another dolphin off the hull so he could have his fun.  While I was riveted to my position over the side, watching this strange phenomenon, a handful of other dolphins rushed us and soon they were leaping out in front of the boat and smacking their tail on the water, sending splashes of water up on the deck.  They were jumping so high and close to the boat, you could see the individual remoras attached to the dolphins hanging on for dear life!

It was probably the most incredible 30 minutes I’ve experienced on this entire trip.  I LOVE dolphins and having got to “meet” them in Moorea, I am even more awed at their strength and grace and, this time, I really could not deny that it seemed like the dolphins were playing at the bow purely for the fun and joy of it.  Watching the dolphin “ride” on our hull felt like a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into the dolphin life and having them turn and look up at us, with just a few feet between us…  THIS is the stuff my dreams are made of 🙂

* we have pics and video of this, but stupid internet is not cooperating!!!

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