Home ContentEye to Eye with Nature’s Friendliest Creatures

Eye to Eye with Nature’s Friendliest Creatures

Published : June 08, 2015

If you’re lucky, every now and then, you get the opportunity to engineer into your existence, a day that will be extraordinary - when the memory will always last . . .


by : Rebecca Commons

 

I woke to distant sounds, muffled music, kids up, hubby tending hissing, spluttering coffee machine, normal morning noises. On my sleepy arrival in the kitchen, I was set upon by the kids. ‘It’s today Mum! You are sooo lucky, it’s so cool!’ Their infectious enthusiasm jolted me into the here and now.

Yes! Today would be cool - REAL cool!

Later that morning, our chartered coach, carrying ten eager, excited journalists reached Bunbury and rolled sedately into the car park of the Dolphin Discovery Centre. 

The oficial name for our experience was 'A swim on the Wild Side', the unofficial excitement stood solitary in our consciousness. We were about to swim in the ocean with wild dolphins!

When life deals you one big fat chance, how reassuring to have people around, who will gently guide you out of the comfort zone. The experts at the Centre were the oasis in our desert of knowledge, providing us with a thorough briefing, covering every nuance, from using the equipment to grasping the etiquette required to enter the domain of another species. Feelings of humbleness stirred within me in recognition of their affection for these beautiful creatures.

The two marine biologists who were to accompany us, issued our wetsuits amid much hilarity; especially for us first timers. Emerging from the change roms, we felt odd, but strangely ready.

It wasn't long before we were forging our way through the ocean, scanning the surface of the sea for glimpses of our 'hosts'. Obviously the trip carries no guarantees, but our hopes of being welcomed as visitors, were high.

A shout went up! A pod of several bottlenose dolphins had been sighted behind us. Feverish activity followed, as we carefully lowered ourselves from the small rear platform into the pitching briny.

Seeing the fins at such close proximity evoked a feeling of awe for what we were actually doing, and when the dolphins started to glide around and beneath us, the excitement was tangible.

These dolphins clearly love to play, and their movements about us, were quick and fluid, amidst the increasing swell of the sea, maybe just a little too quick!

Eventually conditions became too unfavourable, the Discovery Centre dictates high safety standards, so it was deemed necessary to call us back and continue our trip on board. For me, this decision spelled mostly relief, I had certainly felt the odd pang of anxiety at being taken so far from my comfort zone, although I will concur that the experience in the ocean had been exhilarating.

By now, there were dolphins on either side, underneath and in front of us. Here was the magic. They raced and dived and flipped with incredible grace and agility, just metres from us, with beautiful, seemingly smiling faces, as they rolled upside down, hitching a free ride in the slipstream of the boat. There was an excited quiet amongst us, as we all drank in the extraordinary aquabatics of these amazing marine mammals. To the left, three of them had decided to put on a surfing extravaganza, riding on the white crests with dazzling speed and accuracy, whilst several more appeared to be playing ‘It’ - swooping from port to starboard, rolling upside down underneath the boat.

The vibrancy of their displays, the sheer nearness of them, was everything we had come for. It was as if they knew and understood, and did not want to disappoint. These beautiful dolphins stayed with us to within metres of the shore, when they simply peeled off, left and right, and were gone.

Normality hit like a mallet - unpeeling my wetsuit, donning terra firma clothing and boarding the coach to return to Perth.

How strange to be transported from one world to another! There’s no doubt that a visit to their world is well worth it.

If the dolphins welcome you as much as they did us, you too will have one of those extraordinary days - a day where the memory will always last.

Find out more about the Dolphin Discovery Centre here




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