My Travel Book - CHAUSEY - Part Two - Playing with Dolphins

What were we all thinking about while we were leaving Chausey around 7:00 p.m.? Well, the day had truly been one of those enchanting times hard to forget... in a lifetime! In a lifetime of boating, that is.

Chausey was still very close but we were intent on getting back as fast as possible. Evenings can get really nippy in Brittany, especially at sea.

We turned around to get one last look at the island. Something really strange was going on about 500 meters away. The sea looked like some sorcerer’s cauldron... It really was churning over there while it was so calm where we were.

Dolphins,” Walter cried out. “Dolphins! So many of them! Unbelievable!”

We had two choices. We could keep going straight back to Saint-Cast or we could turn slightly around back to Chausey towards the cauldron.

Popeye is basically coming from old country stock just like me, after all but don’t tell him... He chose to keep heading for Saint-Cast.

Luckily for all of us, Walter was on board. “You know, you should change course and head for the dolphins. They are going to love it. You’ll see!”

Popeye payed heed to the only real sailor on board. He headed for the dolphins. We could feel he was worried though but he did it anyway. It took us a few minutes to get there.

The boiling sea turned into a good one hundred dolphins who were obviously fishing.

As soon as we got close to them, about half of them decided that something interesting was about to happen in what had probably been a boring fishing day!

A boat big enough to offer them a very nice wake to play with. A boat with friendly humans aboard. A boat!

Come on, you guys, let’s have some fun!

On board, we were mesmerized... at first. Then we started moving around too, trying to follow them from starboard to port and back and back again.

Popeye was the only one to keep cool because he was the pilot and so worried one of them would get hit by the propellers...

“Don’t worry,” said Walter. “Don’t worry. They are very bright and besides your propellers are far below the boat and reversed. So don’t worry!”

Dolphin-friendly propellers!

It didn’t take long for the dolphins to grasp where the propellers were because they came very close to the boat and started swimming below it too. 
Some even squashing up against the boat side in order to travel effortless remora like! Others even came to rest their heads on the stern which is quite flat and close to the sea surface... grinning all the while.

I know that they were not grinning at all because that’s the way they look. When it gets to dolphins, anthropomorphism is very strong!

So yes, dolphins do grin.

And they speak, sort of. I would rather say that they were sort of singing while swimming along. The sounds were very strange, anyway and I am pretty sure we did not make them up.

It had been a lot of fun being around the seals in the afternoon but our encounter with the dolphins was totally different.

We were in the middle of nowhere, the only boat around and we were surrounded by tens of wonderful, beautiful, prodigious aquatic animals who were willingly sharing a few moments of their life with us. They wanted to be close to us. They wanted to have fun with us.

Some of them were so close that we could have petted them. They were this friendly.

And they were having fun, so much fun and asking for some more all the time. We did play with them and they played with us.

I don’t know why but they were so magical that we felt like we were sort of regressing, from adulthood to childhood and it was so enjoyable. Actually, we had no idea we were regressing. We were children. We were delighted children right in the middle of an incredible dream. And we did not want to wake up.

I have a few memories about running around all over the deck along with Walter and Sophia while trying to check on the dolphins who were playing remoras with our boat... I remember looking at one another with so blissfully happy faces...

There were no words to express our feelings. There was no time to express them all the while the dolphins were playing around. It was all about “Carpe Diem” - “Seize the Day”!

Popeye was delighted but rather unruffled.

You see, he had to deal with a boat which was going quite fast in order to offer a good wake to the dolphins. 
He had to deal with dolphins and it was hard for him to grasp that they were a lot brighter than humans, especially wakeboarders - No offence... 
Above all he had to deal with crazy kids running around all over the boat!

Then came the moment when the dolphins started to opt out... They probably needed to go back to their fishing... They left us almost reluctantly. But they left.

We were exhausted.

They were the ones who had swam at such an amazing speed. They were the ones who had jumped all over the wake, over and over, below the boat and back on the wake.

We were exhausted... We had been on such an emotional high that now that we were back to reality i.e. getting back to Saint-Cast, almost two hours away, we were very close to tears. We were going back to adulthood by then so we did not cry! But we did feel very emotional.

Popeye looked at his watch. “Do you guys realize that we have been playing for almost two hours with the dolphins?”

Walter started laughing. “Do you remember what I said when we left Chausey?”

“What else can we dream of?” Three voices answered loud and clear.
Such a perfect day. 
Probably one of the most enjoyable days at sea in our life if not the most perfect day at sea ever.

All pictures ©The Storyteller 2012

*Good Luck, and Good Night*


Myrna said...


Ken Taylor said...

What an awesome & wonderful story about such a beautiful & unique experience at sea with dolphins! Thank you for writing it so well - I felt as if I'd been there with you on the boat. I love dolphins - thanks again!