Swimming With Dolphins

Paihia Travel Blog

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From the back of the catamaran

The highlight of the Bay Of Islands is the fact that there are so many excursions available. You can fly in a helicopter, go for a cruise on a boat, go sailing, kayak or do what we did, swim with dolphins. Well, I say that's what we did - I flapped about in the water, looking for them, but they obviously didn't like me much.

There are so many different dolphin watching tour operators to choose from, each with a slightly different product. We wanted one that allowed you to swim with the dolphins, but was also going to give us a trip around the bay to see some sights, too. Some would only be a half day of primarily looking for dolphins and then home again, but the tour we chose, a family-run business on a catamaran, took us dolphin watching and dropped us off for a bit at one of the nearby idyllic islands.

Another boat watches on

The day began earlyish by meeting at Paihia wharf and we set off with the engines running to go and look for dolphins. We had been pre-warned that there was no guarantee that we would a) see dolphins at all and b) be able to swim with them - due to circumstances like them feeding or being with their young. So we were happy when we saw a pod within the first half an hour. Some other boat had already seen them and people were already in the water, ferreting around, trying to get to wherever the guides on the boat were pointing. We quickly followed.

Unfortunately, in the water, fortune favoured those at the front or the stronger swimmers, and I was neither. And fortune doesn't favour those idiots who spend ages in the water sorting out their snorkel while underneath, according to my accomplice, a dolphin swam around playfully.

Posing idiot
Once my head was under water, my would-be friend had gone. And I was pretty gutted I missed out. Rules governing the dolphin watching industry meant that we couldn't be in the water between 11:30 and 1:00, so that was the last chance for me, so I was disappointed. But it was such a buzz just seeing them swim around, and Kyle was so excited by seeing one swim past her that I may consider trying again while I'm in Australia.

We anchored at a nearby island where we could either relax by the beach or go snorkelling, which we did. There was no shortage of fish, and I found amusement in following a particular fish around for half an hour. I don't know if fish get annoyed, with memory loss and all that - or is that just goldfish? - but if they do, this one would have been. It looked it, anyway.

We were treated to a barbecue, the anchor was pulled up and we let the sails take us back out to the bay. A bit of sunbathing ensued before we were dropped off in Paihia late afternoon. A quality day.

I will swim with you one day, dolphins. Mark my words.

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From the back of the catamaran
From the back of the catamaran
Another boat watches on
Another boat watches on
Posing idiot
Posing idiot
Dolphins start to arise
Dolphins start to arise
Where we stopped for lunch
Where we stopped for lunch
The bay
The bay
Any veggies? Get out.
"Any veggies? Get out."
Paihia
photo by: Ils1976