Whenever the topic of bucket list activities is raised, it’s rare that swimming with dolphins doesn’t come up in the conversation somewhere near the beginning.
There’s something magical about sharing the natural environment with some of the most loved creatures on the planet.
Kaikoura is on a peninsula on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The area attracts dolphins, seals, humpback whales and even the occasional orca – so it’s a popular spot for heading out on the water in search of these beautiful creatures.
Today, it was my turn. It was an early start, so I had a flat white coffee to perk me up and took a sea sickness tablet just to be on the safe side. If you’re unsure, I’d recommend taking one as it can take about thirty minutes of sailing to find the dolphin pods.
Once we reached the dolphins, we jumped in the water and, following our guide’s instructions, started to make silly noises to attract the dolphins.
Dolphins are naturally inquisitive, so they came up to us and wanted to check us out. In fact, when I later got out of the water to take some photos, I’d never seen my Topdeck group in a more hilarious situation! All in the water, swimming around and blowing out squeaks through their snorkels.
I grabbed some video evidence of the scene which we laughed at over drinks later that evening.
Not wanting to miss out on any time with these awesome animals, I jumped back in and continued to play with the dolphins. They were so much more comfortable in this environment than me! They appeared in front of me only to disappear suddenly and then reappear behind me, as if playing a joke.
It was an incredible experience to be this close and to make eye contact with these creatures. It really is as magical as everyone says.
Swimming with dolphins definitely deserves its place on the top of bucket lists of travellers from around the world.
‘Someone once described me as a non-destructive vandal; within the confines of a camera viewfinder I transform and embellish landmarks with bits of carefully crafted black paper and capture the moment in a photograph. This idea started as a way to photograph my home city of London in a new way. Then the hobby got out of hand. Now I travel the world transforming the skyline around me from well known scenes like New York's Statue of Liberty and Hong Kong's Harbour to lesser known landscapes such as the vistas of Kiruna and Beach Huts in Ontario.’ Follow Rich @paperboyo