To Be A Dolphin!

I don’t know quite how to describe the magic of diving with dolphins. They played, they chatted, they rolled and swooped, they came over begging us to rub their bellies. We lost track of our depth and where we were. They came to see us two out of our three dives in Rangiroa’s Tiputa Pass. It was probably better the second time, because it was easier to slow down and take it in, rather than worry that they would only be there for a moment. It was wonderful to swim with them in their element, to watch one jump up out of the water, looking from below. In Baja we always debated which we loved more dolphins or whales (now there’s a silly argument), and it generally depended on which we’d seen most recently. I remember us saying, ‘dolphins, definitely dolphins’ once, and seriously just few minutes later a humpback breached out of nowhere and it was ‘whales, definitely whales.’ Guess what the sentence is now? ~MS

©DS You’d see them from a distance and then in a flash, they’d be swirling all around you, doing all the tricks you maybe once saw on Flipper?!
©DS Master swimmers, elegant gliders, they move as if in a choreographed, perfect dance.
©DS Something to behold!
©DS Not sure whether I was more enamored with their clicking sounds or their smiles?!
©DS They’d go up to the surface to breathe and we’d just wait and hope they’d come back down and find us! We met a family with young enough kids that they were just snorkeling, but they shared stories of these moments when the dolphins would come up playing on the surface as well.
©DS The rostrum is the hard, beak-like mouthpart. Their sense of smell is poor, with no olfactory nerves or lobe in the brain.
©DS This is a world class dive spot mainly because of these dolphin pods, so they are quite accustomed to human swimmers and their curiosity matches ours, or so it seems.
©DS They normally travel from 4 – 10 feet per second, but they can reach speeds of 26-31 feet per second for short bursts of time.
This school of Longfin Bannerfish lends a bit of scale!
@DS Appreciating the abstracts in-between forays with the dolphins!

The wildlife of these remote atolls, which were originally called the Puamotus (poor islands) where lesser chiefs were once exiled, is addictive. It never stops. ~MS

©BB The dive club sends out a pro photographer (Bernard Beaussier), so he has some fun shots which show the scale of these rather large and gentle lovelies and a bit of our awe!
©BB They’d disappear and then WHOOSH, they’d be back in a flash and spinning circles around us! AHHHH!!!


©BB The Common Bottlenose Dolphin has impressive measurements; an average of 3 meters and weighs about 300 kg!
©BB Sometimes I’d just pause with my own camera, to be sure to really take in the magic.

9 thoughts on “To Be A Dolphin!”

  1. wow! I have so enjoyed your photos Diana! where were you? we’re you diving off your boat out in deep open water, or did your dive originate closer to land?

    1. Felicia, hi!! These Bottlenose Dolphins frequent the Rangiroa Pass in the Tuamotus, French Polynesia. We dove down the ‘wall,’ just outside the pass and the crashing waves on the reef which encircles the lagoon of Rangiroa. Then, as the dive proceeded, we kept one eye on all the gorgeous reef fish and the other out toward the blue deep water, and sure enough they’d come flying in to greet us. They CLEARLY loved the interaction and sought it out. In fact, they’d turn into a vertical position just in front of us and present their bellies to be rubbed. We normally never touch wild animals, but they were BEGGING for it, so a little scratching occurred. The eye contact was out of this world! Thanks for your enthusiasm!

  2. These are stunning photos. I can’t even imagine the thrill of swimming with these beautiful beings. Thank you for sharing these glorious photos.
    All the best and happiness,
    Carol Lettko

    1. I’ve been relishing seeing pics of your family recently (so thankful we have had wifi to catch that glorious wedding), and am glad we can add yet a snippet more beauty to your overflowing cup!

  3. What beautiful photoes. I can realise what super fun it must have been to be with these supercool dolphins. Keep enjoying the world and keep showing us the beauty of the world through your lenses

  4. what beautiful creatures from below. I always am thrilled when they are playing in the waves and I see them! this is unreal; how they must love you being down there in awe of them.

    1. Lori, you’re spot on! It was mesmerizing! And they DID love our presence in their ‘hood!’ Kids (too young to dive) told us about snorkeling in the area and the dolphins would repeatedly dart between a group of divers and them on the surface, reveling in the company!

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