Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Swimming with Dolphins

There's no doubt that the sudden appearance of dolphins beside the boat and riding the bow wave has to be one of the best sights in sailing. We've seen a few in Fiji but the colder, nutrient- and fish-rich waters of New Zealand seem to be the best place to find them.

A couple of nights ago were were in an anchorage at the north end of Motutapu Island (the splendidly-named Waikalabubu Bay), just 5 miles or so from Auckland city centre. The following morning the bay was visited by about 15 dolphins and they stayed there, playing around the 3 anchored boats, for about 4 hours. Graham donned his wetsuit and went swimming with them which was an amazing experience; their ‘sonar’ clicks were really loud and he had three come to inspect him at less than 2ft distance! They approached, head-on, on the surface then dived just below him, swimming on their sides to get a good view; the biggest was about 8ft long. Later, a mother brought her calf along to see him and happily swam with the calf between her and Graham, again almost within touching distance.

These wonderful animals were obviously enjoying themselves and were really curious about the boats. Every now and then they'd put on a wonderful aerobatic display:

 A little lad from a motor boat paddled out on a stand-up paddle board and got quite a show:

 His Dad said that his kids had been complaining earlier in the morning that it was really boring being on the boat but the dolphins changed their views completely!

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