Sometime in my early twenties, I fell in love with dolphins. I’m not sure what led up to it, but I became obsessed with them, especially the bottled nosed ones with their ginormous smiles. I heard stories of dolphins rescuing people in the ocean and immediately had thoughts of jumping into the ocean so I could interact with them. Well lo and behold, more than a decade later, my wildest dreams came true. Toward the end of our 2 week trip in New Zealand, we signed up with Dolphin Encounter to hop in the ocean and swim with a bunch of dolphins. I thought it was going to be amazing, but nothing prepared me for this surreal experience of swimming with a pod of 500 dusky dolphins!!!
The waters were freezing cold, so before anyone jumped in, we had to don these super duper wetsuits that made us all look like seals. I’m sure everyone secretly hoped there were no seal eating sharks in the ocean.
Visibility in the water wasn’t great, but with hundreds of dolphins, everyone was within inches away from a multitude of dolphins swimming by. There were times when I swam in circles and the dolphins would swim around me until I got too dizzy to play with them. Then they thought I was a total bore and continued on their way. For something as playful as dolphins, it’s hard to capture their whole essence with just still images, so here’s a little video from my handy dandy iPhone! I had it encased in a Lifeproof case…either that thing didn’t work properly, or I didn’t seal things tight enough because I had water damage which made my phone go haywire. Thank goodness for Applecare!
To swim with the dolphins, we stayed in Kaikoura, a small town on the east coast of New Zealand. Loving the idea of staying in a tree house, we booked a room at Hapuku Lodge. Turns out the tree house wasn’t quite a tree house, but an elevated room supported by metal beams. Not what we had in mind, but oh well.