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At Play with Our Friends

Those of us who have known close, intimate encounters with dolphins, turtles, whales and other marine life allow for the experience instead of chasing after it. In other words we are gentle and respectful when swimming in waters when these beautiful creatures are present. We have gained their trust by consistently being sweet and non-aggressive with them. When we swim along side of them it is by their invitation, on their terms. You will notice in these photos, the body language of the swimmers...hands by the sides with a relaxed body. We have observed dolphins more often than whales as they are in our bays not far from shore. The whales are usually in deeper waters. All cetaceans show their curiosity and appear to enjoy their interactions with humans. When we simply observe them we learn so much. We learn what their moods are, when they want to play and when they need to rest and be left alone. We've observed them mating, feeding and nurturing their young and playing with each other and with us. Because of these observances we trust that we in no way are interfering with their normal behaviors. Its only when people come to these waters and haven't learned what we call "dolphin etiquette" that disruptions can and usually do occur. That being said, if you are interested in swimming in waters where these magnificent creatures are, be sure to learn how to be in their presence by a reputable instructor.

After swimmers earn the trust of the dolphins by following simple Safety & Dolphin Etiquette Guidelines
the dolphins often approach the swimmers and apparently enjoy being near their human friends.

The Leaf Game

"Leaf" is a game the dolphins taught us. They show a great deal of interest in playing this game with each other as well as with us. Perhaps it is to them like baseball is to Americans. There are particular leaves they like...when a different variety is brought to them, they take it and quickly rip it into pieces destroying it. We often bring leaves to the dolphins from shore, and the games begin. Enjoy our little pictorial of the Leaf Game.

You can't see it in this photo, I have several leaves tucked in my bathing suit and am holding a couple of them in my hand. This dolphin sees me and the leaves and is waiting for me to dive down to drop him one.

...and here he is approaching the leaf I've just dropped down about ten feet for him.


 ...a perfect catch right underneath me with the tip of his beak.


...and he swims right up to me to show me he's got it...and perhaps to thank me for bringing leaves.


Then with a quick toss of his head, he flicks the leaf off his beak and catches it on his right pectoral fin.


Dolphins appear to truly enjoy the acrobatics of this game and move the leaves with great agility from one part of their body to the next. Occasionally they will flick the leaf off to another person or dolphin. Often they will circle around after they've dropped it off to try to retrieve it again before anyone else can. Its great fun!!




...and then there's the turtles

Turtles are generally slow moving unless they are startled or don't feel safe. Then they move quickly in short bursts of speed with their shells facing whatever they are protecting themselves from.

As you can see in this photo...this turtle feels very safe as he passes right beside me.


The key to hanging out with turtles is to stay relaxed. Here's my friend Scott truly putting that idea into practice.



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