I’ve Seen Dolphins More Times Than I Can Count

When humans see dolphins, their reaction is predictably giddy. One might think it’s because the dolphins jump gracefully, or perhaps that their mouths look to be smiling. Maybe it’s simple mammalian kinship passed down through eons. What’s more likely is that dolphins are simply just as curious as we are. Their curiosity acts as a mirror to amplify our delight at the playful antics around the boat.

I’ve seen dolphins more times than I can count. But every time it happens I still run to the bow, take out my camera, and hope they come just a wee bit closer. I never tire of them. This is what makes today’s dolphin sighting off of Isla Montserrat in the Sea of Cortez so special.

It was a couple of hours before sundown and our last dive of the day. Six of us were exploring a reef in about 50 feet of water, with visibility to about 30 feet falling off to a haze beyond that. While working our way along the reef edge where it met the sea floor, our dive master, Juan, spotted a few dolphins ghosting by in the distance. We moved into a line on the sand, hoping for another glimpse. We were not disappointed.

First one small pod and then another would appear and buzz our group, very obviously checking us out. Humans making bubbles on the sea floor is likely a rare enough sight that it warranted proper inspection. For the next 20 minutes, we sat there eagerly watching every new appearance, as the dolphins took turns darting in to see the spectacle. Two groups, one clumsy and out of place, the other an epitome of ocean grace, bound by curiosity.

Then, upon finishing our dive, we returned the chase and sped off in the RHIB to catch the pod again. Jumping in, with just snorkels and fins, to swim about watching their antics beneath us as the sun nestled slowly into the horizon.

  • Magnus Hierta onboard the Nautilus Gallant Lady

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