Swimming with Dolphins at Manly ©
A Dolphin Visit for The Bold and Beautiful Swim Squad at Manly.
Over the last couple of days, the Bold and Beautiful Squad that I swim with has been blessed with a little visitor. Our new friend appears to be a young female bottle nose dolphin who played with the squad on their swim from Manly to Shelly Beach and back.
I have been fortunate to swim with wild dolphins before, whilst at a retreat in the Bahamas in 2013. One of my chiropractic teachers from the U.S.A, Lou Corleto invited me along to join his patients in a Wildquest retreat on the island of Bimini. We spent our days practicing yoga, participating in exercises and, of course, spent every afternoon on a 41 ft catamaran swimming with wild dolphins.
What can Manly learn from swimming with Dolphins?
I learned many things on the retreat. About human behaviour, healing, me and about dolphins. The key point that I came home with was that our external environment mirrors our internal environment. Like attracts like – the dolphins taught me this.
We were shown how to interact with the dolphins and how to maximise our experience of sharing the water with dolphins. What we weren’t taught was how closely the dolphin could mirror our attitudes and internal state. If you thought and acted from a state of calm gratitude and openness, the dolphins would accept you into their pod. As if by showing respect for them you showed respect for yourself, thus making you relevant to their world.
If you selfishly thought, I’m going to go and touch that dolphin. Perhaps to get a tick on your bucket list. You would be lucky to have even a brief shallow contact. The dolphin would let you touch it, then it would zip off as soon as possible. It would act like any other animal would, almost as if the dolphin knew it was just playing a role in a petting zoo.
However, if you thought to yourself, I am open to playing, and then simply held happiness within yourself the dolphin would come to you. It would interact with you in a way that communicated it wanted to know more about you. As if to say, “Hey I want to play too and I want to share some of that consciousness you got goin’ on”.
One day I was in the water, my head was still busy with some lessons i’d learned about me during the morning’s activities. Sure enough there wasn’t much dolphin action coming my way. Then out of nowhere I was zoomed by a big bottle nose. As if to say, “Get outa your head man, leave those serious thoughts on the land.” This had me laughing into my snorkel and pretty soon I was back in the present, diving and spiraling with a couple of the pod.
The Bold and Beautiful, and the Dolphins, are a kindred pod.
That’s how the pod was, all for one and one for all. The kind of tenets from which institutions such as the Bold and Beautiful swim squad originated. It looks like our new dolphin edition to the BnB squad has been estranged from or has lost its main pod. Maybe due to some stress caused by human interference in its habitat. While the dolphin is finding its way home to its pod the people of Manly can best show their appreciation and care by giving the same simple respect we give to any new member. We let them do their own thing, but keep an eye out to help them find their way and enjoy their experience with us.
Here are some points I learned about respecting dolphins in the Bahamas. I think they also apply to our dolphin in Manly…
Never approach or swim toward a dolphin. Let them come to you.
Never touch a dolphin, they don’t understand hands – they have fins. Let them touch or bump you. It’s actually illegal for you to touch a dolphin (Pssst, dolphins will come even closer if you keep you arms by your sides).
If the dolphin is slapping the water with its tail, breathing faster than normal or acting erratic, you are stressing it. Swim back away from it and see if it comes to you. Also, know the laws regarding interactions with dolphins in Manly (see link below).
Whilst it might seem cool to be able to tell all your friends “OMG I swam up to it and I touched a dolphin”. It’s way cooler to know you shared some peaceful space with a dolphin and let it connect with you on its own terms.
The dolphins of the Bahamas showed that they will split from their pods and intermingle for a period of time, even different dolphin species will form sub pods for a while (as shown by the bottle nose and spotties mixing in the video below). If you want to help the Manly dolphin return to its pod, simply stick to your own pod. Display pod behaviour with your own group and the dolphin will get the message that it belongs to the another pod.
Pod behaviour basically means sticking together, playing, sharing and looking after each other. Oh and if you do a really good job of acting like a pod of dolphins and showing respect for our new friend, I can almost guarantee amazingly deep interactions until she decides to return home.
Here’s some footage of our time with dolphins in the Bahamas:
Dr Andrew Maher aka “Dances With Dolphins”.
[ Tags: Manly Chiropractor Dolphin Swim ] Heading Photo by Elaine de Jager BnB swim Squad.