Up close and far awayThursday, June 30, 2022
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In the 20 years that I’ve been diving, I’ve taken a lot of photos; from seahorses measuring a mere centimetre to swimming elephants. But I’ve never encountered a dolphin. Until now. For this mission, we chose to search in a large area in the Bahamas which is home to around twenty dolphins. Everyone on the boat was on the lookout. As the hours passed, my hopes began to fade once again. There wasn’t a single dolphin fin to be seen across the wide expanse of water. My attention wandered after just two seconds, I gave up and went to do something else.
Karin Brussard • OM-D E-M1 MarkII • M.Zuiko DIgital ED 12mm F2.0 • PT-EP14 • PPO-E02
But then, after half an hour, I heard a shrieking noise; one of my fellow passengers had indeed spotted a dolphin to starboard. The captain deftly steered his boat that way and in less than a minute three dolphins were swimming alongside our boat like puppies, playing around in our wake. Everyone was standing ready on the afterdeck and when the captain signalled, we all jumped overboard. Our task was to stimulate the dolphins by doing laps, diving under the water and so on. We probably all looked like a troupe of synchronised swimmers, but these dolphins weren’t interested and they all swam off. What a disappointment!
Karin Brussard • OM-D E-M1 MarkII • M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm F2.0 • PT-EP14 • PPO-E02
I tell everyone that this is what I like about nature, that it can’t be controlled, but I was gutted, really. Silently, we all climbed back onto the boat and the captain resumed his search. Less than ten minutes later we found the next group of four dolphins. We ran enthusiastically to the afterdeck to leap into the water as fast as we could. In my haste, I lost one of my fins and my goggles ended up under my nose instead of on it. Once I had got everything back in position, I swam to join the group. This ritual repeated itself and everyone worked as hard as they could to stimulate the dolphins.
Karin Brussard • Tough TG-5
One of the guides had brought an underwater scooter and the dolphins congregated around him and began to play with us, shooting past us on all sides. My camera was still set up for sharks from another dive, which was shutter priority with 1/80 and I soon noticed that all my photos were blurred because the dolphins were so much faster.Luckily, the dolphins were far from bored with us. I quickly snapped some photos but all I could see were the dolphins surrounded by a crowd of snorkelers. Not quite what I had in mind, so I swam a little way away from the group. I knew there was a risk that none of the dolphins will follow me, but I wasn’t happy with the photos of the dolphins surrounded by the snorkelers. This was a decision I often make consciously while I’m underwater. Swimming away from the group means less chance of getting the creatures to come close, but if they do follow, then I can usually get the moment I’m hoping for. My camera ready I looked around me but couldn't see any dolphins.
I swam to the surface to see where the group was; they were quite some way away from me. Had I made the wrong choice after all? Disappointed, I duck my head underwater and looked around again. In the distance, I could see a few dark shapes coming towards me. I could’t believe my eyes; they were heading my way! Four adult dolphins and one youngster circled around me on their way towards the open water. My strategy had worked and my patience was rewarded. I climbed back into the boat with tears in my eyes. Finally I’ve seen them and been able to take the photos I had in mind!
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