As we motored from Isthmus Cove to Avalon I experienced an up close and personal visit with a bottle nose dolphin. The bottle nose is the large grey dolphin of “Flipper” fame and are the ones used by the navy for the top secret “navy stuff” as well as what you would see used for “therapy” and “dolphin encounters” at water parks around the world. There were other types of dolphins nearby, the shier darker variety as usual stayed off in the periphery. Every hopeful though I worked my way forward and was surprised when a big grey body jetted towards our bow.
I stood leaning down over the bow, grinning and amazed as he paused below me. He was very large compared to other dolphins we have had visit and he really seemed focused on me. He stayed there below our bow pulpit rolling and turning to look up at me. He wasn’t playing in the wake but more just sort of resting there in the stream and looking into my eyes. Four or five times he dove deep away from the boat and I thought he was gone but then he would return, roll his belly to me and again look straight into my eyes. If I moved to port he would shift and roll to port keeping his eyes locked on mine. If I stepped to starboard he followed with a roll and a tail flip. I could hear his clicking and whistling as I talked to him and told him how beautiful he was.
I suddenly realized I was missing a great photo opportunity but had a strong feeling that if I stepped away from the bow he would loose interest and be gone. After about five minutes I called to Bill to try and bring me a camera. As I waited for Bill to go below I was cursing myself for not bringing the camera on deck that morning like usual. Then as soon as I stepped back to grab the camera my new friend was gone. He spun off and dropped away, disappearing into the blue. No photo op, a dolphin encounter just for me and my memories. I can’t wait till it happens again!