Dolphins watching in Tahiti
It was a sunny day in Tahiti and I hoped today the dolphins would be present. Indeed, I decided to leave my dive gear at the dive center and go for a dolphin watch tour. After the whaling season, it was just the perfect time to discover the dolphins this time.
This morning, we were four “watchers” on board. Arriving at 7.45 am at the Tahiti TOPDIVE center, Dominique our guide, handed me a mask, fins and snorkel … one never knows when dolphins would be ready to welcome us in the water.
After 10 minutes into our watch, we exited the Taapuna pass by boat to the open ocean. We were now heading towards the “Point des Pécheurs” – fishermen’s point located in the west of Tahiti. The sea was quiet, presenting perfect conditions for this watch. After 20 minutes on the high seas, we finally arrived on site. Some surfers were already enjoying the waves rolling onto the shore. As we calmly waited, our guide focused on the horizon. Suddenly, a gasp on the left side of the boat broke the silence. Oups, false alarm! It was “just” a hawksbill turtle. A beautiful encounter nonetheless! After 5 minutes of additional waiting, the dolphins arrived! …They seem to be a “punctual” species.
Our guide noticed a small triangular fin a few meters from us north of the boat. As we approached the area we counted at least 30 dolphins frolicking around. « A fin can hide another one ». We joined the shoal at low speed. Immediately, some individuals grouped on the front of the boat. They were beautiful spinner dolphins. This species is a regular in the Tahitian waters. At a constant speed, we observed a dozen dolphins playing from the boat bow. As my companions went nuts photographing the scene, we all enjoyed this quiet moment. The dolphins seemed to be having fun too. A little farther in front, a small isolated dolphin group showed off some jumps, spins and flips … a true festival!
“ The dolphins seemed to be having fun too. A little farther in front, a small isolated dolphin group showed off some jumps, spins and flips … a true festival! ”
Seated on the front of the boat, I did not miss a beat of this 30 minutes nature show. The dolphins were so approachable that it encouraged Dominique to attempt a launch. As the pilot slowed down the boat, Dom gave us the go-ahead to get into the water. Underwater, I heard a few dolphins’ songs and spied some quick silhouettes in the vast ocean. Unfortunately, the shoal continued its route without us much a thought. More fins reappeared as it was already time to head back after a snorkeling stop in the lagoon.
Oh well, at least the swim was refreshing and the encounter was magical. According to the guide, underwater observation of these mammals would not be as easy! Something of a challenge for the next time… Just goes to show how nature can be generous but exceptional sightings are all a matter of luck!
© Photos : G.Lecoeur