THE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME, MY JOURNEY WITH THE DOLPHINS OF PONTA
“They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains the hottest blood of all”
Since I can remember I have always had a passion for Dolphins. My dream was one day working closely with these incredible humans of the ocean. Interacting, understanding, listening and observing them in their natural habitat. However, making this dream a reality seemed an impossibility. Working in the corporate world would require time off from a busy schedule. In 2017 my life took a drastic turn, I lost my high-powered job, a job that consumed every part of my soul. Whilst giving everything to my career my personal life took a turn for the worst and before I knew it I lost everything I knew. Understanding why and how this happened made me do some soul searching, the dream I once had could become a possibility. That’s when the research started to pursue my dream.
I discovered Dolphin Encountours in Ponta do Ouro Mozambique through Volunteer world. The process to apply to be a Volunteer was quick and easy and my journey started on the 1st Feb 2018. Dolphin Encounters Vision and Mantra spoke to every cell in my body, Mantra: “For the love of dolphins” and their Vision: is to ensure Dolphins living within Lubumbo Transfrontier Conservation Area are protected and that ethical and educational marine mammal tourism policies are adopted along the African coastline especially in regard to in-water encounters with wild dolphin.
Angie Gullan who runs the project in Mozambique started this project 20 years ago in a small-town Ponta do Oura, she did what most people do arrive in Mozambique to explore the deep blue ocean by diving in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Angie’s first encounter happened in 1994 with Ponta’s local Dolphins. She was intrigued as much as they were and that’s where her love for Dolphins began. She packed up her life in Jozi and moved to Ponta. Through the years Angie has built an incredible relationship with the local dolphins, she has experienced interactions with Dolphins not many people have had the honour experiencing. She swims in their slip streams, being introduced to a mom’s new born calf, and during the years they continue to introduce their new offspring to her. They love her as much as she loves them.
Getting into the water with Angie and seeing the Dolphins interact with her is an experience of a lifetime. They call her the Dolphin Whisperer, experiencing this myself whilst working with Angie have on many occasions left me speechless for hours. I have had the most mind-blowing experiences with the dolphins, and each time I get into the water I get even closer to understanding why I took this leap and followed my dreams.
Along with their various partners the Dolphin Encounter research Center is Africa’s leading wild dolphin program that was born in December 1994. They campaign for the rights of Dolphins and have to date identified and catalogued some 250 Dolphins in the reserve.
Whilst on this journey, I have been privileged on so many occasions to swim alongside these incredible humans of the seas, they have observed me as much as I’ve observed them, and I have been gifted with circle swims & belly up swims, introductions and playful behaviour. An experience of a life time that I could repeat over and over again. With each interaction I feel more connected, more inspired and more grateful that I have been privileged enough to encounter these special dolphin interactions, when you lock eyes with one of these incredible mammals, the fear and the anxiety disappears and just for a moment it feels like time stands still. Nothing matters and every cell in my body feels the warmth, the gratitude and the love for the dolphins.
“IT IS OF INTEREST TO NOTE THAT WHILE SOME DOLPHINS ARE REPORTED TTO HAVE LEARNED ENGLISH- UP TO FIFTY WORDS USED IN CORRECT CONTEXT- NO MAN BEING HAS BEEN REPORTED TO HAVE LEARNED DOLPHINISE”