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OUR MAGICAL DOLPHIN ENCOUNTER

I woke up this morning knowing today was going to be one of those laid back Sundays. It certainly wasn’t going to include a magical dolphin encounter.

No school, no chores, just some chilling out.

Surprisingly we woke up to clouds and even a bit of rain for a while which made us feel even more chilled.

Last night we’d decided we should go for a family snorkel today but given the weather this morning we changed our minds. It’s now early afternoon and the sun’s trying to come out so we’ve decided to go for that snorkel after all. So we’re heading out in the dinghy to find somewhere to snorkel as we’re not familiar with this part of St Martin.

Mac actually had a bit of a grump on as he’d decided the water wasn’t clear enough for him to go snorkelling in. This as a result of being fortunate enough to spend the last two and a half years swimming in mostly crystal clear beautiful water.

It has rendered us all water snobs and I’m the prime example of it. I simply will not swim in water that isn’t clear enough to see the bottom. End of story.

Mac decided it wasn’t worth getting in the water but Sienna and Tim and I braved the not so perfectly clear water and off we went. As it turned out it wasn’t a remarkable snorkel. Yes, the water was slightly smoky to start with but as we swam closer to the rocks it became really clear. Though we didn’t see too much down there apart maybe from the really cool Peacock Flounder that we chased for some time, it was still good to cool off and burn some energy.

By the time we got back to our anchored dinghy we were a bit cold and ready to head home for the obligatory hot chocolate that follows most of our snorkels at the moment. After all it is winter here!!! 

Mac and Sienna are pulling up the anchor when Tim yells out “Hey, what’s that in the water?” We all turn around to see some dolphins slowly jumping only about 15 metres away from us and in the blink of an eye all of us are in the water trying to get a close up glimpse. Mac lost his grump in that split second and is also in the water with us now! 

I’m swimming along trying to chase the first dolphin when it suddenly turned and swam towards me. Ok so I’ve always dreamt of swimming with a dolphin but having this huge creature heading straight to me was daunting for a couple of seconds as I’m thinking “He is huge… is he gonna eat me??’ But of course not, he simply swam right by me.

I can’t begin to explain how sensational our magical dolphin encounter was. It was like I was in a dream and floating all over the water while these dolphins danced gracefully around us. There were 2 adult dolphins, obviously a male and a female, along with their baby. One adult stayed with baby the whole time while the other one played with us. And it literally was PLAYING with us.

He’d swim and twist around behind me then shoot off to do a jump out of the water and then head down low again. He’d bend and sway inbetween us and then slowly swim off only to return a few seconds later. At times he swam below me then he’d stop and turn upside down and just look at me. He even tilted his head a few times as if to say ‘Hey you’re a cool human aren’t you?’

I LOVE that he’s looking up at Sienna…

At times all 3 of them were swimming around us and between us, I didn’t know which one to look at and they were so close that I could see the big daddy had mesmerising brown eyes. The dolphin had brown eyes. Now that’s a sentence I never imagined I’d say! 

After about 20 minutes of our magical dolphin encounter they all headed off but this time we thought they’d gone for good. So, a little sadly, we started heading back to the boat feeling so grateful that we got to experience something so cool. I’d heard them make their high pitched dolphin sounds (like you hear them do in movies!) from as soon as we saw them so I began to try to speak dolphin to them in the hope they’d come back.

I didn’t want this unique dream to end. I’m sure it wasn’t due to my newly learnt dolphin speak but suddenly the big daddy was back with us, twirling and jumping and smiling at us.

Now if we’d been swimming with a shark and it smiled and showed me his teeth I’d have peed myself and probably almost pass out. But seeing this guy smile and seeing his teeth, and seeing his brown eyes up close just made me feel really grateful. Grateful that these dolphins chose to come and play with US. And that they seemed to be having fun with US.

I wondered what they must be thinking. And why did they keep coming back to frolic in the water with us? Maybe they were as intrigued as we were? Wouldn’t that be cool?

Eventually they did go off. They’d probably had enough mucking around with 4 humans for one day.

Once we were all back on the dinghy we could not stop talking. We were all talking over each other at a very fast pace, the italian in us was clearly obvious! We were all on such a high and had so much to tell each other about what we’d just experienced. We were all telling each other what we thought the dolphins were thinking by reading the expressions on their faces and the occasional tilts of their heads and the slow, leisurely, super friendly speed at which they were playing with us.

I felt like I must have taken a drug, a powerful upper that gave me a boost of spiritual strength, I felt incredible.

Oh my gosh it was so thrilling for all of us.

How did we get so lucky?


I know I’m grateful to be on this adventure but today has to slip in to one of the top 5 days we’ve ever had onboard Pierina. The magic of swimming and playing with these dancing dolphins. REALLY playing with them. Trying to mimic their movements and trying to swim and bend as smoothly as they did. The really cool part was that It wasn’t an organised tour. It wasn’t where you’re bound to see dolphins. It wasn’t something we’d even thought about.

It was totally impromptu and totally unexpected and totally the most amazing experience.

I loved that seconds after Tim had spotted them from the dinghy we all just jumped in. It wasn’t something we asked each other about, there was no question that we were going after them. It was a given.

We all just knew we wanted to swim with these dolphins, like it was second nature. There was absolutely no fear, well except that 2 seconds at the beginning for me! And I’m really happy that my kids had no fear of them and would do it all again!


I guess this whole occurrence reminds me to make the most of certain opportunities that might crop up from time to time. Not just in this adventure that we are on, but in everyday life no matter where we’re living.

I don’t want to sit back and let life happen around me.

It could be the most trivial of things to one person, but to another person it might be extraordinary.

Either way, if an opportunity presents itself, I hope we will always have the urge to just jump in and join it!


A special thank you to Tim and Mackenzie for trying to capture some images of our amazingly magical dolphin encounter!  

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