Respecting and watching dolphins or whales or both!, in their natural environment, without disturbing them.
Encountering dolphins and whales
Let me tell you about my extraordinary encounter with dolphins, off the coast of Reunion Island.
A holiday on Reunion Island can be full of exceptional experiences such as: encounter with dolphins that frequent the island’s waters all year long. I love these marine mammals and this morning in the port of Saint-Gilles I met Yann, a diving instructor, and Jo, the boat’s pilot. They are both cetacean specialists.
We headed out to sea, on the intensely blue water. After sailing smoothly for ten minutes or so, the boat accelerated suddenly. Jo, the old veteran, had spotted a pod of dolphins. I was so excited! There they were, playing around the boat, jumping and spinning out of the water. It was time to go and look at them more closely.
Into the water!
Diving suit, fins, mask, snorkel: I was ready. Yann said ready, steady, go. Splash! The magic worked instantly. The dolphins were already surrounding us. I pinched myself: no, I wasn’t dreaming, I could even hear their whistles.
We stayed in the water for a long time, savouring every second of this wonderful encounter. Then Manu, whose camera had recorded everything, signalled to us: it was time to get back on board. Everyone had big smiles and couldn’t stop talking about it.
It was our lucky day: Jo had spotted another group, Bottlenose dolphins this time. This species is naturally very curious. As soon as we got in the water, the dolphins approached us. I stayed still and they came and brushed up to me. The youngest one was playing with a fish that it had just caught: I think we might have surprised them on their lunch break!
On the way back Jo, like a good captain, revived his troops with a round of house punch. The boat was full of joyful euphoria as we took the souvenir photo. I still can’t believe it. I swam with dolphins in the open sea and we had a great time! Yann told me that during the southern winter it’s possible to encounter whales and their calves. When the season comes, I’m going straight back to Reunion Island believe me!
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