March 28, 2005
Amy writes:

The Beatles' Love me do wasn't successful nor my fav ditty, Ye canne shove yer granny off a bus, but humming Somewhere over the Rainbow through my snorkel worked a treat - as countless Dusky Dolphins swum underneath me entranced by the tune. It wasn't my Judy Garland singing voice, that's for sure but whatever it was - even just the exhausting effort of swimming and singing while trying not to drown, I got within inches of these strange sea mammals. I'm sure if nothing else the sight of me and another 22 human-adults all squeeking/singing/humming away and trying to swim in circles to catch the interest of passing dolphins at least gave the staff and spectators on our boat some entertainment if not the dolphins themselves.

The concept of swimming with dolphins is pretty common though I'd hardly class it as swimming 'with' them. More like trying to catch up and enjoy the experience as they swim past in their droves. We were very lucky - there must have been around 300 dolphins in the water that day but the idea you are actually communicating and being with them is a myth. These are wild dolphins. You can't touch or grab onto their fins as you see in films and it's pretty exhausting work trying to hum (as described above) while trying not to swallow too much saltwater as you do, swim in circles (to imitate their behaviour and get them to interact with you) without getting dizzy and as for taking photos - forget it!

I should have learnt by now that underwater cameras are a waste of time. Not only because of the shoddy picture quality but being able to concentrate long enough to get a decent shot. I can now unequivocially say that in this instance that was impossible. You had to keep moving or lose the dolphins/freeze in the icy waters. You couldn't aim the camera properly as the dolphins swum so close you might accidently touch one and startle it. At least Jody and I had a good laugh looking at all the random snaps I'd got. A few foggy ones of whole dolphins, plus various body parts. A stomach, head, fin, one of my blurry snorkel. At least it shows they were there. A brilliant one of the only dolphin who caught my eye and stayed long enough for me to snap it. The best photos were taken from the boat when the dolphins started showing off. Dusky Dolphins are well-known for their acrobatic prowess though no-one really knows why they like doing flips and jumps so much. A great one-off experience and hopefully the last time I will ever be seen in a wet suit.

Not done too many other big water-based activities yet except previously Tubing in Waitomo on the North Island. This consists of climbing around underground in caves wearing a wetsuit, having to wade up to your neck in freezing underground rivers then sitting on to a big, rubber inflatable tyre and floating along in the dark under a ceiling of glowing maggots. Very odd indeed.

posted at 10:24 PM | link


  • Aaah memories....
    Glad you guys are unintenionally following in Li and my footsteps! The Tongariro crossing is gorgeous and... I think it was worth the pain. Glad you didn't get snow! I'm v jealous you got to swim with dolphins as there as an actual gale (not exagerating!) when we were in Kaikoura and I left without doing it. Well I defo will in Nov (I told you I'm going back to NZ didn't I?)
    As for being snobs getting the heli-hike!... well snobs unite!!!
    Li and I forked out the extra cash to do that, no way was I gonna walk to the glacier. And you chose Fox, which I thought was a better choice than Franz Joseph cos only one tour group go there.
    Puzzle World is wicked isn't it? V funny pic of you two.
    Well I just got back from Mexico last night, hence as v v jetlag (by the way, the jet lag from NZ to Santiago is a KILLER -we slept for two days!!!), but I will dig out my old travel diary and send you a detailed email on what to do/what to avoid in America Sur.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:57 PM  

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Jody and Amy have finished their 10 month adventure around the world, that began Nov 2, 2004, and ended Sep 2, 2005. They're back home in London now, doing normal things, like going to work and drinking tap water. You can see a map of what was their planned route, but we didn't quite follow it.
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