My Amazing Ocean Moment - Dancing With a Dolphin

Dancing with a dolphin

Dancing with a dolphin

There are moments in the ocean when I’m caught in a major conundrum. Get the shot or put the camera down and just be in the moment. Sometimes, you get lucky and you end up doing both. We had one of those moments in the pass at Rangiroa in French Polynesia during a sunset dive. Big pods of dolphins had welcomed the National Geographic Orion as we sailed into Rangiroa, so we were hoping they might come to play. You hear them first, ears tuned to catch that fine frequency that vibrates through the water like melodic chirping. They made one quick pass and so we followed them into the blue. Soon enough, they were back, clearly with a mission….to head into the pass to do a sunset surf session on a series of large and concurrent waves that are created as the current shifts and water flows through the atoll. Yet they clearly wanted to say hi, and when I realized they were coming straight at us, I started shooting away. And closer, and closer, and soon one specifically came swimming alongside me, inviting me to dance. The opportunity to connect eye to eye, heart to heart, spirit to spirit with these curious, intelligent, and playful ocean creatures far triumphs any photo that I could have taken into the depth of a dolphin’s eye. At least for this day it did. That dolphin and I fell in love right there and for one blissful second, we were weightless together suspended in French Polynesia and there was not a care in the world. And then with a flick of a tail, it was off to surf the waves, but that intimacy we shared lingers on.

Kristin Hettermann