Dolphin Dreaming

Having just fulfilled one life long dream of attending a Jimmy Buffet concert and getting all hyped up on the good old salty sea I found out I got to head back to LA for a work conference-just the opportunity I needed to squeeze in a little rest and relaxation and the dolphin whale watching safari I found off Dana Point earlier this summer. Finally, a chance to actually go out on the sea and hopefully see a Blue or Finn Whale and some Common Dolphins. This was going to be great!

After twisting my sister-in-law’s arm (not much) into joining me for the weekend we started making plans. Captain Dave’s Dolphin Safari was at the very top of my list, I didn’t even care if it was not peak season, I just wanted the chance to get out on the ocean and test my sea legs. I was really excited about the prospect of seeing some really cool animals up close and personal.

Of course early November is not the best time of the year to be going out to sea. A storm had rolled in the day we arrived in LA so it was dreary and cool when we landed. By luck or just good fortune the day of the safari turned out to be sunny, albeit not exactly hot, and our big opportunity finally arrived. Just to be safe we both took a Dramamine to ward off any sea sickness, dressed in several layers and headed out.

Captain Dave, as it turns out, is not your ordinary run of the the mill tour captain. He is a verified expert in sea life specializing in dolphins and whales and had just enjoyed a moment in the spotlight as a celebrity guest of The Today Show. I thought it was rather good fortune that Captain Dave himself led us on this adventure.

The seas were not calm and friendly as we pulled out from the marina. The boat rocked and rolled as it dipped into one huge trough after another. I quickly realized my sister-in-law’s concerns about getting sea sick just might become the story of the day, as she looked a bit green, as we headed west out to sea. I held my breath, wondering too if my stomach would soon start to lurch. Thankfully, I discovered I have pretty solid sea legs and the rocking and heaving of the deep blue seas only served to fill me with a sense of peace rather than nausea. I kind of liked the lolling of the boat, first up and then down. I really enjoyed the fresh sea air and the wind in my hair. I soon got brave and went to the bow of the boat and found myself pretending I was having a “Titanic” moment. I closed my eyes and I faced the open sea and imagined being on a pirate ship or maybe my own personal sea cruiser.

Scanning the horizon I soon saw what Captain Dave had zeroed in on a huge pod of Common Dolphins on the horizon. The boat soon became just another member of the large pod of over 1000 dolphins all swimming freely in the most beautiful deep blue sea. The dolphins raced the boat, jumped and twisted in the air like acrobats performing for an audience. Watching over the boat rail as the dolphins caught the current of the boat and raced us and each other all the while playing an intricate and beautiful dance with each other the experience took my breath away. The dolphins were beyond beautiful. They were awe inspiring. Soon the sound of them squeaking and chattering to each other filled the air. It was a language all their own and it was like music.

Standing on the bow with the wind in my hair and my senses tingling with the smell of the sea, I listened as the sounds of the dolphin language Ifilled the air. Suddenly felt very small and insignificant in this big ocean and even bigger world. I longed to be in the water with these amazing creatures and to feel as free and happy as they did, dancing in the water, jumping in the air and flipping with a hearty squeak of encouragement to each other.

Standing on the front of the boat, looking at dolphins as far as my eye could see in every direction, I could suddenly picture myself free and wild swimming in the huge sea, nothing to do but swim, jump, race and play. The sound of the dolphin language left me wondering what they were saying to each other as they chirped and squeaked. Suddenly, I longed for the chance to spend just one day swimming freely in this large pod of dolphins, experiencing their life and feelings instead of mine. What would it be like? I wondered. As I entered the underground pod I felt the first opportunity to be one with these amazing creatures. Under water I could lay down and imagine myself racing the boat, flipping in the air, and playing with the other dolphins. For a moment in time I let go of my humanness and pretended I was free on the sea for a day. I remembered the simply joy of pretending as a child and I suddenly was filled with the nostalgia of my youth, wishing I could shed my adult-ness more than once in a blue moon.

It was an amazing experience and one I hope to repeat soon. I have to find a way to take my daughter Maggie on this trip –soon. As a child she will see this experience through child eyes and I know she will understand the raw beauty of these playful creatures who welcomed me to the sea that day.

I am blessed.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list”

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